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The flu & you ....Flu vaccination during Pregnancy

With the days getting shorter, nights getting colder and the Winter coats emerging from the wardrobe again.…we know that Winter is on its way.

During pregnancy the cool weather can be a welcomed change from the hot summer days spent in front of the air conditioner however it also brings with it the dreaded winter colds and flu bugs.

The downside during pregnancy is that wrapping ourselves in cotton wool and hibernating for 3 months is not realistic,

however the upside is that a simple flu vaccination help protect both yourself and unborn baby.

What is the flu?

The flu is a highly contagious viral infection that can cause severe illness and life-threatening complications, including pneumonia. The flu is spread by contact with fluids from coughs and sneezes. During pregnancy women are particularly at higher risk of contracting the virus and higher risk of hospitalisation. If you do develop flu symptoms it is important to contact your gp as soon as possible as the gp may prescribe antiviral medication.

Symptoms to look our for:

  • sudden appearance of a high fever (38 °C or more)

  • a dry cough

  • body a

  • hes (especially in the head, lower back and legs)

  • feeling extremely weak and tired (and not wanting to get out of bed).

Other symptoms can include:

  • chills

  • aching behind the eyes

  • loss of appetite

  • sore throat

  • runny or stuffy nose.

Having the flu is even more likely if you have been in contact with someone who already has it.

Why do I need to get it?

Vaccination helps prevent people from becoming infected with diseases.

This leads to less disease circulation in the wider community as well as protect those around us whom can't be vaccinated

such as your baby under 6 months of age.

How does it protect my baby?

The flu vaccine is the best way to protect your unborn little one.

The flu vaccination can be safely given at any stage of the pregnancy regardless of your due date.

Once you have had the vaccination you body will make protective antiebodies that help protect both you and your baby from the flu.

This will provide you newborn baby from the moment they enter the world until they are six months of age until they old enough to get the flu vaccination.

Where can this be done?

Flu vaccination can be provided by your local GP and the flu shot is free under the national immunisation program

How can I further avoid getting the flu?

  • Keep away from people you know who are sick with the flu, especially keep you newborn away from them as much as possible

  • Good hand hygiene, wash hands regularly especially after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose

  • avoid crowded areas where there may be other people sick with the flu and risk of infection is higher

What other vaccinations should I have whilst pregnant?

Whooping cough vaccine:

A whooping cough combination vaccine including tetanus and diphtheria protection is recommended to be given in the third trimester of every pregnancy, ideally between 28 and 32 weeks gestation, but it can be given up until delivery.

Vaccination during pregnancy has been shown to benefit the newborn by passing protection from the mother to the baby.

Whooping cough infection can cause serious complications in a baby, which may include death.

In Victoria, the vaccine is free for:

  • -pregnant women from 28 weeks gestation during every pregnancy

  • - partners of women who are at least 28 weeks pregnant –

  • if the partner has not received a pertussis booster in the last ten years.

  • - parents or guardians of babies born on or after 1 June 2015, if their baby is under six months of age and they have not received a pertussis booster in the last ten years.

More information on pregnancy and vaccinations can be found at:

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