The flu (influenza) can be more severe and last longer when you’re pregnant. You may be more likely to develop complications like pneumonia that could lead to hospitalization. Moreover, a serious case of flu raises the risk of preterm labor and delivery.
The good news is you can take steps to prevent the flu while you are expecting.
Get your flu shot. The flu vaccine is the best way to prevent the flu. You can get the flu vaccine no matter how far along you are in your pregnancy, even if you are in the third trimester. The Department of Health (DOH) recommends getting the flu vaccine each year, preferably anytime from February to June.
The vaccine will protect both you and the baby from getting the flu for 6 months after you give birth. This protection is especially important because the flu shot is not safe for infants less than 6 months old.
The flu vaccine is safe, as it does not contain the live virus and cannot give you the flu. You may experience fatigue and muscle aches after getting vaccinated as your immune system responds to the vaccine.
The flu shot is also safe while you’re breastfeeding. It cannot cause you or your nursing baby to get sick. The shot takes about 2 weeks to work.
Practice good health habits. Get adequate sleep, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food. Experts recommend 30 minutes or more of moderate exercise per day on most if not all days of the week, unless you have a medical or pregnancy complication.
Wear a mask. If you are not fully vaccinated or if you have a weakened immune system, wear a mask indoors.
Wash your hands often. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth to prevent the spread of germs.
Consult your doctor for more information on how to prevent the flu during pregnancy.
References: https://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/fact-sheet-pregnancy-flu. Accessed 23 September 2022 https://www.webmd.com/baby/guide/exercise-during-pregnancy. Accessed 23 September 2022 https://www.cdc.gov/chronicdisease/resources/infographic/holiday-health.htm. Accessed 23 September 2022 https://covid-19.acgov.org/covid19-assets/docs/press/holiday-recommendations-2020.11.09.pdf. Accessed 23 September 2022
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