Influenza during pregnancy tends to be more severe than non-pregnant people and can cause life-threatening complications such as pneumonia. It is known that many pregnant women died during the outbreaks affecting the whole world in 1918-1919, 1957-1958 and 2009-2010. More severe flu infection during pregnancy is due to increased oxygen consumption due to pregnancy, decreased lung capacity and changes in the immune system.
Flu droplets, i.e. virus-containing particles in the air, begin to give symptoms such as sudden fever, chills, headaches, muscle pain and a general state of resentment after the 1-4 day incubation period. The first symptoms are sudden fever, chills, headaches, muscle pain and a general state of resentment, and these symptoms usually occur in all individuals with infections. In the presence of these findings, the doctor should be contacted. Rest is essential in treatment in all individuals who have the flu, both to prevent the transmission of the disease to other individuals and to provide the necessary energy for the body to fight the virus. It is important to pay attention to nutrition and fluid intake. Various drugs for relieving the symptoms of flu infection can be used with the recommendation of a doctor, including pregnant women (such as eliminating nasal congestion, discontinuing cough, lowering fever, reducing muscle and joint pain).
What are the symptoms?
Especially the last periods of pregnancy and the first 4 weeks of pregnancy are the most risky periods and the diagnosis and treatment of flu infection can prevent the development of serious complications. The Department of Health, the American Society for Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention influenza Case Management Algorithms make similar recommendations. In the presence of at least one of the common complaints of body pain, sore throat, headache, runny nose, cough and breathing difficulties with fever that reaches 38 degrees during pregnancy, it is recommended to start immediately without waiting for the results of the tests to detect the flu virus. The negative effect of antiviral drugs on the baby or mother is unknown. Patients receiving outpatient treatment should be informed about possible complications. In case of respiratory distress, chest pain, excessive fluid loss, blurred consciousness and worsening of the findings, they should be treated by contacting the doctor and being hospitalized.
Should I be vaccinated?
Especially after the flu outbreak in 2009, experience shows that pregnant women are severely affected by flu infections. There have been numerous cases of death all over the world that can be prevented by vaccination. This information has clearly emphasized that it is vital to recommend influenza vaccine to women during pregnancy and postpartum periods.
Since 2004, the American Committee on The Recommendation of Immunization Practices (ACIP) has recommended vaccinating all pregnant women and women who are likely to experience pregnancy during influenza season. Inactivated influenza vaccine can be made at any time of pregnancy. There is also a live vaccine with a nasal spray form, but this form is not recommended during pregnancy. Women in the period of maternity can easily use the vaccine of this form. Thimerosal is a mercury-containing preservative used in multiple dose influenza vaccines. In addition, although there are vaccines that do not contain thimerosal, the vaccines containing this substance have no negative effect on newborn health. Although vaccination does not completely eliminate the possibility of flu infection, it greatly reduces the likelihood of flu infection in the newborn thanks to antibodies passed on to both mother and baby. Therefore, vaccination of pregnant women is very important for the protection of newborns.
Although it is known that the vaccine is reliable and effective, vaccination rates are not sufficient during pregnancy. Although the side effects that vaccines can cause and the long-term negativity in the baby are the biggest concerns of families, side effects in the mother are very rare and not very different from other vaccines. Again, it is known that the ingredients used to increase the effectiveness of vaccines (timerasol etc.) do not lead to long-term negative consequences in the baby. It is important that physicians eliminate misinformation and unknowns about the vaccine and should recommend vaccination to all pregnant women during influenza season. Gaining this habit is very necessary for both pregnant women and newborn health. Since pregnant women are highly susceptible to influenza and its complications, vaccination should be an integral part of the pre-pregnancy, pregnancy and postpartum period.
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