NSW Health and the Australian Department of Health and Ageing recommend that pregnant women should receive a flu vaccination. Pregnant women are not only susceptible, but they also have a have greater chance of serious illness if they catch the flu, and this can also affect the health of their unborn baby.
Pregnancy has an effect on a woman’s immune and respiratory systems, so even healthy women with uncomplicated pregnancies can be seriously affected by the flu.
The flu vaccination not only protects you and your unborn baby, it helps to protect your baby against catching the flu for up to six months after they’re born. Flu vaccinations are considered safe and effective for pregnant women and new mothers.
Influenza (flu) is a virus that spreads easily from person to person through coughing or sneezing and by direct contact from the hands. A flu vaccination is the best way to reduce your risk of catching the flu.
As well as having a flu vaccination, it is also important to limit contact with people who are sick, especially those who are coughing. Make sure you practice good hygiene by:
- Washing hands regularly
- Covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze
- Getting early treatment if you do develop the flu or flu-like symptoms.
- Encourage people around you to follow these same steps, and ask people who are sick to keep away until they are well.
Keep in mind that there is a significant difference between having a bad cold and getting the flu. Although a bad cold can put you in bed for days and make you feel miserable, the flu is debilitating and can take several weeks to recover from.
Common signs and symptoms of the flu include:
- A high temperature (fever)
- Shivering Muscle aches
- Sore throat
If you do get the flu, it is safe to take anti-viral medication called Tamiflu. Tamiflu can help shorten the length of the flu and can help with symptoms. This specific medication works best when taken within the first 72 hours of getting symptoms of the flu. If you are worried or have symptoms of flu, see your GP as soon as possible. The rooms are always available for you to call with any queries as well.
Happy winter and stay warm!