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Flu During Pregnancy: How To Keep Health Risks At Arm’s Length

Flu During Pregnancy: How to Keep Health Risks at Arm’s Length

Having a baby, they say, changes everything. That may be true from a lifestyle perspective, but the one thing it doesn’t change is the chance of catching the flu during pregnancy. Those odds are more or less equal for all, pregnant or not, unless steps are taken to reduce the risk. The first, and most important, for those carrying is to get the flu shot by the start of flu season—preferably by the end of October.

In fact, the CDC confirms it, and for many good reasons.

For starters, modern-day vaccine formulations may be safely administered to pregnant women at any stage, not only as a matter of preventing flu in mothers, but also in their newborns for up to six months after birth, including for those who breastfeed. Perhaps more importantly, studies show that influenza and pregnancy can result in sometimes severe health complications and, even congenital birth defects, caused by high fever in expectant moms.

So, it only stands to reason to arm yourself appropriately with the flu shot during pregnancy.

Signs and Symptoms

No doubt there is some crossover between the common cold and the flu. Headaches, runny noses, sore throats, and loss of appetite are standard, but if those symptoms are accompanied by severe fatigue, body aches/chills and a steady fever of more than 101 degrees, those causes for concern may actually be causes for alarm. Experts warn that flu during pregnancy can lead to greater risks of dehydration, premature birth, and other serious complications. So, if the signs are pointing in that direction, it’s best to reach out to your doctor as soon as possible.

What to Do If You Get the Flu

Say your suspicions have been verified. You’ve got it, now what? If so, a number of safe antiviral medications are available by prescription, which can shorten the duration of flu symptoms during pregnancy. Additional flu remedies include over-the-counter products such as Tylenol, Robitussin-DM, and/or Delsym. That said, some medications aren’t safe for use during the first two-thirds of pregnancy; similarly, there are ever-present warnings against taking alcohol- or ibuprofen-based drugs. Specifics vary depending on the situation, but any prompt recovery will likely hinge on getting sufficient rest and fluids to turn the corner. 

Use an Ounce (or more) of Prevention

The best defense against the flu is a good offense. Start by washing your hands regularly and making a habit out of using hand sanitizers. It may also go without saying to exercise regularly, maintain a healthy supply of vitamin C, and keep your distance from others who have come down with a cold or flu, but each point bears repeating. The CDC does suggest that those who have a severe, life-threatening egg allergy should use extreme caution in getting the flu shot. Otherwise, the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices makes no recommendation for or against vaccine formulations containing thimerosal (a preservative).

You may also be interested in Symptoms of Flu: Reasons for Concern or Causes for Alarm?

What to Know and Where to Go 

In the last 20 years, the clinical side of preventing flu during pregnancy through vaccination has expanded dramatically to include, first and foremost, independent or community-based pharmacies of every stripe, as well as the standard Ob/Gyn practice. The only caveat being a specific medical condition that requires the attention of physician, apart from a pharmacist.

However, if you’re good to go anywhere you want to go, a trip to the pharmacy might be the best place to get in and out and on with life. But, not just any pharmacy, right?

Well, not if a Benzer Pharmacy is in the neighborhood.

To find a location nearest you, use our store locator below to find a Benzer near you!

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