What should you do if you get the flu when pregnant?
If you get the flu even though you’ve gotten the flu shot, which we know some people will because it’s not 100% protective, it’s important to call your physician. The doctor will prescribe an antiviral medicine like Tamiflu to decrease the severity of your illness. The antiviral medicine is most effective if used as soon as you have the illness, so be sure to call right away. The flu symptoms to prompt a call include fever, cough, and body aches. If you are exposed to the flu while pregnant, it is important to call your doctor because Tamiflu is given to decrease the chances that you will get the flu.
When should pregnant women get the flu shot?
A pregnant woman can get it during any trimester, but it’s best to get it at the beginning of flu season, which is October. The flu season lasts through at least April, and that’s a long period of time that mom is at risk and baby is at risk. That’s why you want that prevention. In addition to the flu shot, which is the best prevention, it’s important to use good hand-washing, cough etiquette, stay home if you’re sick, and try not to make everybody else sick. Vaccinate your children every year — anybody over the age of 6 months should be vaccinated. Talk to your doctor if you have an allergy to ingredients in the vaccine.
Are there other vaccines pregnant women should get?
The other vaccine that’s really important is Tdap, which includes the protection against pertussis, or whooping cough. Although Tdap protects mom from getting pertussis, its greatest benefit is to protect the baby from dying of pertussis. Like the flu shot, the mom’s antibodies from the Tdap vaccine cross the placenta and protect the baby in the first two months of life before the baby can get their own Tdap vaccine. Nearly 70% of whooping cough deaths occur in babies less than 2 months old, and getting the Tdap vaccine lowers the risk of infants getting the illness by 78%. It’s important to get the Tdap early in the third trimester with every pregnancy. Pregnant people should stay up to date with their COVID-19 vaccines, including getting a booster shot when it’s time to get one. Also, women who have other health conditions like diabetes and women who smoke should get the pneumococcal vaccine and should ask their doctor if they need other vaccines.