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Protect Yourself and Your Communities this Fall from a Serious Viral Threat: Influenza
continued from page 27
Flu Vaccine during Pregnancy Protects Mother and Baby
Studies show that changes in a pregnant woman's immune system, heart, and lungs
can make her more susceptible to severe illness from flu, which is why flu vaccines have
been recommended for pregnant women since 2004. When a pregnant women contracts
flu it can result in serious problems for her unborn baby, including premature labor
and delivery. Another study determined that falling ill with flu during pregnancy may
quadruple your child's risk for bipolar disorder.
Flu: Fact or Fiction?
I got the flu from the flu vaccine.
Fiction. You cannot get the flu from
the flu vaccine as there is no live virus
in the flu shot.
The flu isn't that bad.
Fiction. The flu is not a cold. It is
a serious infection that results in
thousands of deaths in the U.S. each
year. In fact, flu and pneumonia are
among the top ten killers of adults in
I need a flu vaccine every year.
Fact. The effectiveness of the vaccine
wanes over time, so even if the
flu strains covered by the vaccine
haven't changed from one year to the
next, you should still get vaccinated
annually to maximize your protection
against the flu.
Pregnant women should not
receive a flu vaccine.
Fiction. Since 2004, the CDC has
recommended pregnant women
should receive a flu vaccine no matter
what trimester they are in.
Receiving a flu vaccine is the best
way to prevent the flu.
Fact. While handwashing and other
preventive measures can help prevent
the spread of infectious diseases,
receiving your annual vaccine is the
best way to prevent the flu.
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The good news is that getting a flu vaccine during pregnancy not only helps protect
the mother, but also provides passive transfer of maternal antibodies to the unborn baby.
This can be crucial protection for newborns that are unable to be vaccinated for flu until
they are six months of age. In fact, it has been found that when a woman gets vaccinated
during pregnancy, it reduces her risk of flu-associated acute respiratory infection by about
50 percent. There are even studies that show that when pregnant women receive the flu
vaccine, they can also reduce the risk of flu illness in their babies by up to 50 percent.
And this protective benefit was observed for up to four months after birth. In an abstract
published by the Pediatric Infectious Disease Society, influenza vaccination during the
second and third trimester provided up to 35 times more protection in the children of
those vaccinated compared to those who were not.
Another way to help keep infants under six months of age safe from flu is to ensure
everyone around them, including friends, family members and other caregivers, receive
their annual flu vaccine.
Protect Yourself, Your Family, and Your Community
We all know plenty of people who are at high-risk of complications from influenza,
including young children, adults 65 and older, people in nursing homes and long-term
care facilities, pregnant women (and women up to two weeks postpartum), and people
with chronic diseases such as diabetes, asthma, heart disease, cancer, and HIV/AIDS. By
getting everyone in your family vaccinated against the flu every year, we not only protect
ourselves but we also help reduce the spread of the flu to vulnerable members of our
Remember, it takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the
body and provide protection against flu, so get your vaccine as soon as possible. But if
you don't make it to your doctor or pharmacist before the holiday season, you can still get
vaccinated in January, February or March to protect you and your loved ones from flu that
could continue circulating as late as May.
Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about getting the flu vaccine for
everyone over 6 months of age in your family. And remember - if
you get the vaccine at your pharmacy, let your doctor know so he
or she can update your immunization record.
Amy Pisani, MS, is the executive director of Every Child
By Two - Carter/Bumpers Champions for Immunization
(ECBT), a national nonprofit organization committed to
reducing the burden of vaccine-preventable diseases
among families and individuals. She is the mother of a
healthy teenager who was hospitalized twice due to flu
as an infant. To learn more about current vaccine issues,
visit our website at vaccinateyourfamily.
CCMS Medicine Fall 2017
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