6 Mar 2023 | 6 min Read
Author | 465 Articles
Influenza, more commonly known as the flu, is a contagious viral infection that affects your respiratory system and causes symptoms like fever, cough, and body aches. Recently, hospitals across India have reported thousands of influenza A sub-type H3N2 cases, and if you are expecting at the moment, you may wonder how to prevent influenza during pregnancy and what precautionary measures to take.
In this post, we have discussed more about this disease, how it affects your pregnancy, and the dos and don’ts to keep in mind to protect yourself against influenza during this crucial time.
Influenza is a highly contagious illness that travels from one person to another and causes a widespread outbreak. When someone with the flu coughs or sneezes without covering their mouth and nose, the virus can spread through the air and on different surfaces.
Influenza during pregnancy is most likely to cause severe symptoms due to the low immunity of the expecting mums and may require hospitalisation in some cases.
Unlike the common cold, influenza occurs with a sudden onset of symptoms, including:
Influenza symptoms may resolve on their own, but if they persist for more than a week without any improvement, you should seek immediate medical care. If left untreated, influenza can cause:
Severe flu symptoms can adversely affect your baby’s development. High fever can cause neural tube defects and other complications in your developing baby.
Hence, if you notice any of the flu symptoms, make sure to consult your doctor immediately for advise. Also, avoid taking any medications without consultation as that can further affect both your and your baby’s health.
To diagnose your condition, your doctor may recommend one of the following influenza tests:
After confirming your diagnosis, your doctor may prescribe a pregnancy-safe antiviral medication. While these medications do not fully cure the flu, they can prevent your symptoms from worsening.
Many healthcare providers prefer administering oral antivirals during pregnancy, such as oseltamivir. This is because oseltamivir has the least amount of side effects on pregnant or breastfeeding women.
Your flu symptoms may last for up to 3-5 days or even a week. Make sure to take ample rest and drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration during this time.
Once your symptoms subside, consult your doctor about when to take the flu symptom to prevent this virus from recurring.
The best way to prevent influenza during pregnancy is by getting a flu vaccine, especially before the flu season starts. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it is safe for pregnant women to take flu shots anytime during their gestational period.
Besides keeping you safe during pregnancy, the CDC states that the flu vaccine can also help protect your baby once they are born. The vaccine antibodies pass to your baby through the placenta during pregnancy, and after birth, they receive these antibodies through breast milk. This is crucial in protecting your baby in the first few months of their life, as they do not get the flu shot until they are six months old.
The apex health research agency has also suggested a list of dos and don’ts to follow to prevent influenza during pregnancy. Take a look at them!
You should be regularly updating your doctor with your symptoms and if there has been any improvement. In addition to this, if you notice any of the symptoms discussed below, seek medical care immediately by visiting the nearest hospital.
We hope to have answered all your queries on influenza during pregnancy and precautionary measures to follow to prevent the spread of this illness. If you see no improvement in your health after 3-5 days of your diagnosis, then make sure to consult your healthcare provider immediately. In addition to this, take the flu vaccination once you have fully recovered to protect your developing baby.
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