By 15/03/2018 Read More →

Flu vaccination for pregnant mums

Is it safe for pregnant mums? Your questions answered.

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Autumn is here which means that winter and flu season is just around the corner. Flu makes you feel miserable – it’s the last thing you want at any time and especially not when you’re pregnant.

The Centre for Disease Control (CDC) says that the flu vaccine is safe for pregnant women in any trimester. Contracting flu while you are pregnant increases your risk for pneumonia and as well as miscarriage, premature birth or having a low birth weight baby.

Getting the shot flu lowers your risk for contracting flu. Evidences also suggests that it gives baby some protection for the first few months of life.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) also recommends the seasonal flu vaccine for pregnant women in any trimester.

What is it?

The flu vaccine is an annual vaccine that is best administered every year from late February to around the end of April, although you can still have it during the winter months. The vaccine contains three strains of flu virus as recommended by the WHO. The viruses included in that season’s vaccine are ones deemed to be prevalent in the coming flu season.

How does it work?

Once you get the jab, usually in your upper arm, your body will identify the inactive virus as an invader and will begin to produce antibodies to fight it. This builds up your immunity against the strains in the vaccine and similar ones. Because there are many different strains of flu, having the shot does not guarantee that you won’t get sick this winter, but if you do, you are unlikely to get very sick and you should recover quicker.

Where to get it?

Your GP or a local pharmacy clinic can administer the vaccine. Your medical aid may cover the cost. If you need to pay cash the vaccine costs around R85.

Myths and facts

1: If you are allergic to egg white be cautious about getting the flu vaccine.

Fact: You must speak to your doctor before you get the shot. If you develop only hives (itchy skin bumps) from egg white, you may still be able to have it, but for more serious reactions, seek medical advice.

2: If you had the shot last year, you don’t need it again.

Myth: The vaccine changes frequently according to the flu strains in circulation, so even if you had it last season, you should have it again. Your body’s immunity also declines.

3: If you get the shot, you’ll get flu.

Myth: The vaccine contains inactivated virus only. Some people do feel fluey for a day or two following the vaccine. You may experience a low grade fever, sore muscles, headache and fatigue as well as discomfort, pain and a little swelling at the vaccination site.

4: Avoid it if you had a previous severe reaction to the flu vaccine.

Fact: Speak to your doctor first.

Resources

  1. www.who.int
  2. www.cdc.gov
  3. www.health.gov.za

 

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Posted in: Health, Pregnancy
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