Why Are Pregnant Women Advised To Have The Flu Vaccine
The flu jab will help protect both you and your baby.
There is good evidence that pregnant women have a higher chance of developing complications if they get flu, particularly in the later stages of pregnancy.
One of the most common complications of flu is bronchitis, a chest infection that can become serious and develop into pneumonia.
If you have flu while you’re pregnant, it could cause your baby to be born prematurely or have a low birthweight, and may even lead to stillbirth or death.
When Should I Have The Whooping Cough Vaccine
The best time to get vaccinated to protect your baby is from 16 weeks up to 32 weeks of pregnancy. This maximises the chance that your baby will be protected from birth, through the transfer of your antibodies before he or she is born.
If for any reason you miss having the vaccine, you can still have it up until you go into labour. However, this is not ideal, as your baby is less likely to get protection from you. At this stage of pregnancy, having the vaccination may not directly protect your baby, but would help protect you from whooping cough and from passing it on to your baby.
Should I Be Concerned About Whooping Cough
Whooping cough is a highly infectious, serious illness that can lead to pneumonia and brain damage, particularly in young babies. Most babies with whooping cough will need hospital treatment, and when whooping cough is very severe they may die.
Research from the vaccination programme in England shows that vaccinating pregnant women against whooping cough has been highly effective in protecting young babies until they can receive their own vaccinations from 8 weeks of age.
In keeping with usual disease patterns, which see cases increasing every 3 to 4 years in England, whooping cough cases have fallen in all age groups since 2012. The greatest fall has been in young babies targeted by the pregnancy vaccination programme.
Cases of whooping cough in older age groups are still high compared to pre-2012 levels. The number of cases was particularly high in 2016, in line with the typical 3- to 4-yearly peak in disease rates.
Babies can be infected by people with whooping cough in these older age groups, so it is still important for pregnant women to be vaccinated to protect their babies.
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Why Are Pregnant Women At Higher Risk For Serious Flu Illness
Youve probably heard that the flu can be dangerous for older people, infants and people with health conditions. But you may not know that pregnant women are also at higher risk for complications like pneumonia. Why? Because changes to your body make it easier for you to get sick.
Even if you feel healthy and strong while pregnant, pregnancy affects your immune system, heart and lungs. This can make you more susceptible to the flu and can put you at higher risk of more serious illness.
In addition to getting a flu shot, you can take extra steps to stay as healthy as possible, including washing your hands regularly, covering your cough, and keeping your immune system strong by , eating well, and practicing good health habits.
When Should I Get The Flu Shot
You need a flu shot every year, even if you’ve had one in previous years because different strains of flu surface each year.
No matter which trimester you’re in, get the flu vaccine when it becomes available â preferably by the end of October, so you’re protected before flu season begins. But if you miss getting a shot in the fall, it’s still worth getting vaccinated afterward because the flu season can last into May.
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Rare Side Effects Of The Influenza Vaccine
There is a very small risk of a serious allergic reaction to any vaccine. This is why you are advised to stay at the clinic, medical surgery, or pharmacy for at least 15 minutes following vaccination in case further treatment is required.
Apart from anaphylaxis, other extremely rare side effects include in children.
A small increase in Guillain-Barré syndrome was seen in the US in 1976, but since that time, surveillance has shown that it is limited to one case for every million doses of the flu vaccine, if at all.
If any other reactions are severe and persistent, or if you are worried, contact your doctor for further information.
Can The Meningococcal Vaccine Cause Meningococcal Disease
The short answer is no. There are actually four meningococcal vaccines licensed in the U.S. None of the vaccines contains live bacteria.
The vaccines contain antigens — substances that trigger the body’s immune system and cause it to make antibodies. These antibodies then protect the body by attacking and killing the bacteria if it should invade your system.
The first vaccine — meningococcal polysaccharide vaccine or MPSV4 — was approved in 1978. It’s made with the antigens contained in the outer polysaccharide or sugar capsule that surrounds the bacterium.
The meningococcal conjugate vaccine or MCV4 was approved in 2005. It uses antigens taken from the polysaccharide capsule and then bound to a separate protein that targets the body’s immune cells. This makes it easier for the body’s immune system to see and recognize the antigens.
One type of MCV4, Menveo, is licensed for use in people ages 2 to 55. Another version, Menactra, is approved for those 9 months to 55 years old. MPSV4 is the only vaccine licensed for use in people over 55 as well as people 2 to 55. Both vaccines protect against four types of meningococcal disease.
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So How Can I Protect My Baby
The only way you can help protect your baby from getting whooping cough in their first few weeks after birth is by having the whooping cough vaccination yourself while you are pregnant.
After vaccination, your body produces antibodies to protect against whooping cough. You will then pass some immunity to your unborn baby.
The Flu Shot And Pregnancy: Answers To Your Questions
While much of the worlds attention is currently focused on the new coronavirus , cold and flu season is also fast approaching. Fortunately, theres a vaccine that can help prevent the flu and its potential complications.
Pregnant? You may be wondering whether the flu shot is safe for you and your baby. Heres what the experts say about the flu shot and its safety, notes on which shot to get and where to get it, as well as the potential benefits and risks of vaccination.
of women. They also mention various clinical trials, observational studies, and other data that support a consistent safety record.
The CDC further explains that pregnant women are more likely to be hospitalized with flu than women of reproductive age who are not pregnant.
Why is this exactly? Well, pregnancy may weaken your immune system. This can make you more susceptible to illnesses like the flu. Add to that the extra work your body is already doing, particularly your heart and lungs, and you can see how serious complications might occur and why protection is important.
- soreness or swelling at the injection site
egg allergy, tell your doctor about it. Some formulations of the shot include egg protein and can cause a severe allergic reaction in such cases.
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Is It Safe To Get A Flu Shot At The Pharmacy When You’re Pregnant
Yes. While you can most likely get the shot from your healthcare provider at a prenatal visit, pregnant women can safely get a flu shot anywhere it’s offered to adults, including pharmacies and drive-through clinics. If you can’t find one, call your local health department to find out where the flu shot is available in your community. You don’t need a referral or special permission from your healthcare provider to get a flu vaccine while you’re pregnant.
Pharmacists must complete 20 hours of training and be certified to give vaccines. In some states, interns and technicians can also give them if they’re trained and working under a qualified pharmacist.
If you’re concerned about spending time around other people at a pharmacy, two things can help cut the time you spend there: making an appointment and filling out your medical consent form ahead of time .
Because of COVID-19, pharmacies have extra safety measures in place. Staff wear masks and gloves, disinfect surfaces often, and space out customers to prevent crowding. You’ll be expected to wear a mask, and when you arrive they may ask you COVID screening questions and take your temperature. You’ll likely have your shot in a screened area for privacy.
So, if it’s more convenient for you to go to the pharmacy than the doctor’s office for your shot, that’s a perfectly fine alternative.
How Effective Is The Flu Shot
The effectiveness of the flu shot can vary from year to year. That’s because the vaccine needs to match the strains of flu viruses that are most common that season. So a bit of predicting is involved.
According to the CDC, when the vaccine is well-matched to the circulating viruses, the risk of flu illness is reduced by 40 to 60 percent among the overall population.
Even if you get the flu, it’s likely to be much less severe if you’ve been vaccinated. For pregnant people, the flu shot reduces the risk of hospitalization with flu by 40 percent and the risk of severe flu-associated lung infection by about half.
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Pregnancy And Influenza Immunisation
Pregnant women are at increased risk of complications from the flu. The flu vaccine is strongly recommended and safe for pregnant women at any time during pregnancy. It can also be safely given while breastfeeding.
Flu vaccination of pregnant women also protects infants against the flu for the first 6 months after birth due to transplacental transfer of antibodies from the vaccinated woman to the unborn baby.
Who Should Not Get The Flu Shot
Don’t get a flu vaccine if you’ve had a severe allergic reaction to a flu shot.
If you’re allergic to eggs, talk with your healthcare provider. If you only get hives after exposure, you can probably still get the flu shot. If you have a serious allergic reaction to eggs, you have two options:
- You can get the vaccine under medical supervision .
- You can ask for one of the influenza vaccines that are egg-free. Two of these “cell-based” vaccines are now available.
Before getting a flu shot, be sure to let your healthcare provider know if you have any other severe allergies, or if you’ve had the rare immune disorder Guillain-BarrÃ© syndrome.
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What Are The Side Effects From The Meningococcal Vaccines
With any vaccine, there is the potential of a severe allergic reaction within a few minutes to a few hours after the shot. But the likelihood that the meningococcal vaccines would cause a severe reaction is extremely slight.
About one out of every two people who get the shot experience mild reactions such as redness or a mild pain where the shot was given. Those usually go away in one to two days. A small percentage of people develop a mild fever.
There have been reports that a few people have been diagnosed with Guillain-Barre syndrome after receiving MCV4. But experts say it occurs so rarely that it’s not possible to tell if it’s related to the vaccine or coincidental.
What Are The Risks Of Flu In Pregnancy
Youre more likely to get the flu when youre pregnant because your immune system is weaker. Your risk of developing complications from flu is also higher, which can make you very ill. Bronchitis , is a common complication that can develop into pneumonia.
Getting the flu during pregnancy can also cause premature birth, low birthweight and even stillbirth.
The flu vaccine will help protect you and your baby during your pregnancy. It can also protect your baby for the first few months of life.
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Should Pregnant Women Get A Flu Shot
As flu season approaches, youve likely seen and heard a lot of encouragement to get your flu shot and for a very good reason. Getting vaccinated is one way you can help protect yourself, your family and those around you. Influenza vaccines are available at your doctors office, and some workplaces even provide them.
Amidst all the talk about the flu, one question I hear every year is from pregnant women wondering whether theyre supposed to get a flu shot. Some even assume they shouldnt get the flu shot because they are so used to their doctors and pharmacists telling them not to take certain medications while pregnant. To dispel any myths or misunderstandings about receiving the influenza vaccine while pregnant, read on.
How Does The Flu Shot Help Protect You From Flu
The flu shot contains a vaccine that helps prevent you from getting the flu. The flu shot cant cause the flu. Its safe to get a flu shot any time during pregnancy, but its best to get it before flu season . Even though youre more likely to get the flu during flu season, you can get it any time of year.
There are many different flu viruses, and theyre always changing. Each year a new flu vaccine is made to protect against three or four flu viruses that are likely to make people sick during the upcoming flu season. Protection from a flu shot only lasts about a year, so its important to get a flu shot every year. You can get the shot from your health care provider, and many pharmacies and work places offer it each fall. Use the HealthMap Vaccine Finder to find out where you can get the flu vaccine.
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Which Vaccines Do I Need After My Baby Is Born
After your baby is born, you may need to get vaccines to protect against:
- Whooping cough: If you didnt get the whooping cough vaccine when you were pregnant, youll need to get vaccinated right after delivery. Other people who spend time with the baby may also need to get the whooping cough vaccine.
- Measles, mumps, and rubella, and chickenpox: If youre not already protected from measles, mumps, rubella, or chickenpox, youll need to get vaccinated before you leave the hospital.
All routinely recommended vaccines are safe for breastfeeding women.
Learn more about vaccines your baby needs early in life .
How The Influenza Vaccine Works
The influenza viruses change every year because the influenza virus has a unique ability to change its surface structure. This means that even if you had the flu or an immunisation one year, your bodys immune system might be unable to fight the changed version of the virus that will be circulating the following year.
Each year, a new vaccine is developed and is available for those who wish to be immunised. The seasonal flu vaccine includes protection against four strains of influenza viruses.
The flu vaccine cannot give you the flu because it does not contain live virus. Some people may still contract the flu because the vaccine may not always protect against all strains of the influenza virus circulating in the community.
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Myth: The Flu Vaccination Can Result In A Miscarriage
A study from the Marshfield Clinic Research Institute did find a link between the vaccine and miscarriagebut it only emerged under very specific conditions. For the vast majority of pregnant women, the Centers for Disease Control still recommends getting vaccinated to prevent other serious problems should you contract the flu during pregnancy. For example, getting the flu while pregnant increases your risk for early delivery, which can be harmful to the baby.
Headache And Other Aches And Pains
After your shot, you might have headaches or some achiness and pain in the muscles throughout your body. This also usually happens on the first day and goes away within two days. Taking pain relievers can help ease your discomfort.
Its controversial whether its safe to take acetaminophen or ibuprofen to treat these vaccine side effects.
Some research suggests that these medications might change or decrease how your body responds to the vaccine. One study involving children found that taking acetaminophen or ibuprofen didnt reduce the bodys response to the flu vaccine.
Other research is mixed. Its still unclear whether these medications should be avoided.
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What If Youre Not Pregnant Yet Can You Get Pregnant After Your Flu Shot
You absolutely can. The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology recommends that people who are trying to get pregnant get vaccinated. People who get the flu while pregnant are at a higher risk for serious illness and complications. You will have full protection 2 weeks after immunization. Choose the flu shot instead of the nasal spray vaccine if youre trying to get pregnant soon. The nasal spray contains the live virus and should not be used during pregnancy.
Reaction At The Injection Site
The most common side effect of the flu shot is a reaction at the injection site, which is typically on the upper arm. After the shot is given, you may have soreness, redness, warmth, and in some cases, slight swelling. These effects usually last less than two days.
To help reduce discomfort, try taking some ibuprofen before getting your shot.
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Getting A Flu Shot Is Still Best For Mom And Baby
The CDC, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists , and the American Academy of Pediatrics continue to recommend the flu shot for pregnant women at any stage of pregnancy, not only for the benefit of the mom but also because it provides the baby with antibodies that can help protect the baby after birth.
Infants cannot get their own flu vaccine until 6 months of age, so the antibodies you pass to your child are vital. As of September 2, 2017, more than 100 pediatric flu deaths already have been reported for the 2016/2017 flu season. The peak flu season traditionally is September through March, but theres no way to predict with certainty how early the flu season will start or how long it will last. Early indications from countries in the southern hemisphere where flu season has already started suggest this year will see a lot of influenza activity.
Some women worry that the flu shot will make them sick. This is untrue. Flu shots are made from dead viruses that cannot give you the flu but you may notice some minor side effects such as soreness at the injection site, low-grade fever, or muscle aches, which are annoying but not worrisome.