From June to August is the peak flu season and pregnant women are particularly vulnerable.
Elizabeth McCarthy, Senior Lecturer, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the University of Melbourne, has stated that vaccinating pregnant women against the influenza gives a three for one benefit:
- Protects the woman during pregnancy and in the early months of motherhood
- Protects the young infant through trans-placental antibodies
- Protects the young infant by flu antibodies in the mother’s breast milk
North Coast GP and North Coast Primary Health Network GP Clinical Advisor Dan Ewald said flu shots could be given at any stage of pregnancy, but are best planned during the final three months of pregnancy.
“Flu shots are free for pregnant women and safe for mother and baby. And importantly, vaccinating against the flu not only protects the mother but helps provide ongoing protection during a baby’s first six months of life.
“It’s also important for a pregnant woman to contact a doctor immediately if she has flu symptoms. These include tiredness, high fever, chills, headache, coughing, sneezing, runny noses, poor appetite, and muscle aches,” he added.
Dr Ewald also recommends some simple things that everyone can do to stop getting the flu or passing it onto others.
- Cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing, use tissues not handkerchiefs and dispose of them after use.
- Wash your hands regularly, especially after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose and before eating
- Keep away from people you know are sick with flu. Make sure your family and friends know not to visit if they are unwell.
- Avoid crowded places where there may be other people sick with flu.
Talk to your GP or pharmacist today about getting the flu shot and staying well this winter. The flu, it’s not just about you.