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Flu prevention for those you love

Generally when we think of vaccines and flu prevention, we think of being well ourselves.

But flu prevention is also for those we love. The CDC has said that influenza activity, predominantly from A(H3N2), has increased significantly in recent weeks, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which issued a health advisory Wednesday. So, we encourage vaccination and in particular come to discuss what you can do.

Hand washing and mask wearing is important.

Getting prompt, even within hours, treatment with antiviral medicines is important.

This year's strain A(H3N2) is very deadly for those over 65. Keeping up nutrition, rest, hydration, vitamins and is critical as this year's vaccine effectiveness may be as low as last year's, at 32% for A(H3N2), the CDC says.

Pregnant women should receive influenza vaccination and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), presented data to back up this annual opinion published in the September 2014 issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology. In addition to protecting the baby after birth pregnant women are at increased risk for serious illness from influenza because the immune system changes during pregnancy. These changes appear to place women at increased risk for illness and influenza-related complications.

In addition flu shots protect pregnancies and babies in another way. According to a study published online January 6 in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, it has been determined that in addition to preventing the flu, pregnant moms who get flu shots have healthier babies because they are less likely to have a baby who is small. WebMD has pointed out that Canadian and World Health Organizations guidelines recommend seasonal influenza vaccinations for pregnant women in any trimester. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had recommends seasonal vaccination with the inactivated influenza vaccine for pregnant women, but the newest data says that quadrivalent vaccines are safe to mothers also. This gyno agrees, but there are some considerations regarding who and when and what type of vaccines we recommend and it's always a good topic to discuss.

For more information, see ACOG's Web site.

The authors have disclosed no relevant financial relationships.

Obstet Gynecol. 2014;124:648-651. Full text


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