Congratulations if you’re pregnant or planning to have a baby soon. Naturally, right now you are probably concerned about being pregnant during the current COVID-19 pandemic and with the winter months fast approaching the last thing you want to be dealing with are flu symptoms like fever, headaches, a sore throat, muscle aches and tiredness.
It is important to also understand that influenza can be life threatening for pregnant women and their babies.
I am pregnant, should I get an influenza shot during COVID-19?
Yes, and pregnant women get it for free! Even though the flu vaccine won’t protect you against getting COVID-19, it’s important to do what you can to avoid getting sick. We know that pregnant women are at increased risk of complications from influenza so having a flu shot is important.
Influenza is the most common preventable disease in Australia. However, it can also cause very serious illness in otherwise healthy people leading to hospitalisation and even death. Getting a flu shot can help to protect others in the community including those who can’t be vaccinated due to sickness or being too young.
Flu shots help protect pregnant women and their babies from potentially serious influenza during and after pregnancy. The flu shot given during pregnancy has been shown to protect both the mother and her baby for several months after birth from flu. Studies in young healthy adults show that getting a flu shot reduces the risk of illness by 40% to 60% during seasons when the flu vaccine is well-matched to circulating viruses.
Government-funded influenza vaccines are now available, it is recommended that people get their flu shot now. Pregnant mums can get their flu shot anytime during their pregnancy.
It’s free for pregnant mums! Influenza vaccinations are free for pregnant women, so talk to your doctor today about getting a free flu shot.
There are simple precautions you can take to protect you and your baby from influenza:
Clean your hands regularly
Now more than ever, washing hands properly and regularly has become a high priority for all of us. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap or use a hand sanitiser regularly - a flu virus can survive on unwashed hands for at least 30 minutes and up to two days on other surfaces.
Social-distancing by keeping at least 1.5 metres away from people and reducing general community exposure are great ways to reduce risk of illness and spread of infection.
Stay at home if unwell
Like any illness, if you are sick with flu, stay at home and avoid close contact with other people to prevent them from also becoming sick. The opposite advice also applies - avoid close contact with sick people to avoid catching the flu yourself!
Some other things to be aware of when pregnant and wanting to get an influenza shot:
- You can have the flu shot any time during your pregnancy
- Flu shots are perfectly safe for you and bub
- It can reduce your risk of flu and can protect your baby from flu for several months after birth
Pregnant women also need a whooping cough shot, so remember to speak to your doctor about this too.
What happens if I get influenza?
Early Treatment is Important
If you get sick with flu symptoms contact your doctor immediately. There are antiviral drugs that can treat flu illness and prevent serious flu complications. It is recommended that prompt treatment is taken for people who have influenza infection or suspected influenza infection and who are at high risk of serious flu complications, such as pregnant women.
Get vaccinated to protect yourself and your baby today.
If you have any queries, please speak to your doctor or the friendly team at Dr Farag’s clinic in Gosford.
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Centres for Disease Control and Prevention