Pregnancy and the Flu

 

Flu season is here (October 1 through mid-May) and we at Piedmont OB/GYN strongly encourage all obstetric patients to be vaccinated. The vaccine helps to protect you and your newborn from complications of the flu. A recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine demonstrated a 63% reduction of influenza illness in infants up to 6 months old, and a 29% and 36% reduction in rates of respiratory illness with fever in infants and mothers respectively. If you were unable to be vaccinated during pregnancy, the hospital offers vaccination at the time of delivery.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends annual flu vaccination for everyone 6 months old and older. However, it is especially important for the following groups to be vaccinated because they are considered high risk for flu related complications or they live with or care for someone at high risk for flu related complications.

  1. Pregnant women
  2. People age 50 and older
  3. Children younger than 5 but especially children younger than 2
  4. People of any age with certain chronic medical conditions
  5. People who live in nursing homes and other long term care facilities
  6. People who live with or care for those at high risk for flu related complications including:
    1. Health care workers
    2. Household contacts of persons at high risk for flu related complications
    3. Household contacts and out of town caregivers of children less than 6 months of age

Who should not be vaccinated

  1. People with an allergy to chicken eggs
  2. People who have had an allergic reaction to the flu vaccine
  3. People who have developed Guillian-Barre Syndrome within 6 weeks of receiving the flu vaccine
  4. Children less than 6 months of age
  5. People with a moderate to severe illness with a fever (they should wait until the illness passes)

http://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/vaccine/pregnant.htm  (Influenza and pregnancy) http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/season/index.htm  (CDC home page for flu season 2013-2014)