When Should Pregnant People Get The Flu Shot
“Pregnant women can receive the flu shot in any trimester,” Kobylinski-Tognazzini said. So in general, you can go by season: the CDC notes that September or October are typically good months to get the shot, so you’ll be protected all flu season long. “Earlier vaccination can be considered for people who are in the third trimester of pregnancy during those months, because this can help protect the baby after birth during their first months of life ,” the CDC adds.
Is There Any Danger Of Catching The Flu From The Flu Vaccine
No – there’s no chance. Flu shots do not contain the live virus, which is the only thing that can cause the flu.
Flu shots contain fragments of killed influenza virus, which stimulate your body to produce antibodies that protect you from the live virus. But the influenza virus in the flu shot is inactive, so it can’t infect you.
The nasal spray flu vaccine, Mist, contains live viruses, but they’re weakened and can’t survive the warm temperature in your lungs. Still, as a precaution, it’s recommended that you get the shot instead of the spray during pregnancy.
How Will You Feel After Getting A Flu Shot
The side effects of the flu shot are the same for pregnant women as they are for other people. You might have some soreness, redness or swelling at the injection site, headaches, fever, or other flu-like symptoms that last one to two days.
The bottom line: Unless you have had severe allergic reactions to the flu shot in the past , getting vaccinated during pregnancy is highly recommended by doctors and is critical for both the health of the mother and the baby.
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Why You Need A Flu Shot
Vaccination is not a guarantee against illness, but it is a strong deterrent. Aside from helping the body build immunity to the influenza strains most likely to circulate in a given flu season, the flu vaccine can reduce the severity of the illness and risk of hospitalization should a person get sick despite being vaccinated.
The vaccine can also protect against serious complications arising from the flu for people with chronic conditions such as diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or heart disease. Flu vaccines can also protect pregnant women during pregnancy and their newborns during the first few months of life. Vaccination also works to limit the spread of the flu virus should an infected person come in close contact with others while contagious.
When To Get The Flu Vaccine
The flu vaccine is available from October to the end of April each year.
You can get the vaccine at any point in your pregnancy. But try to get it as early in your pregnancy as you can.
If you were pregnant during last year’s flu season and got the flu vaccine then, you’ll still need to get this season’s flu vaccine.
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What Medications Are Safe During Pregnancy
If you are pregnant or are planning to be, one of the first questions youll have is, what medications can I take and which ones are not safe during pregnancy? For the best answer to this question, start by having a discussion with your doctor. Discuss what medications you are currently taking and be sure to follow his or her advice. In general, here is a list of common drugs that are safe during pregnancy.
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Why Do I Need A Flu Shot During Pregnancy
Normal changes in your immune system during pregnancy may increase your risk of flu complications. The flu vaccine is the best protection against the flu for you and your baby. Pregnant people are at high risk for severe illness, hospitalization and death if they get the flu. If you get the flu while pregnant it can also cause serious problems for your baby including premature labor and birth defects.
Studies show that getting a flu shot while pregnant can help protect your baby from the flu for up to six months after birth. Breastfeeding after the baby is born helps strengthen their immune system but is not a replacement for getting vaccinated.
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Should Seniors Pregnant Women And Young Children Get The Flu Shot
People who are 65 or older are at high risk of developing serious complications from the flu, including pneumonia and inflammation of the lungs, that can cause difficulty breathing and lead to hospitalization and the need to be put on a ventilator. An influenza infection can also increase the risk of heart attack and stroke in older adults, said Dr. Tara Vijayan, an infectious disease doctor at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles. As we get older, we have a natural decline in our immune responses, she said.
The C.D.C. and Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommend that pregnant women are vaccinated against the flu to protect themselves and their fetuses. Just as the body experiences immune decline while it ages, it also tones down its immune responses during pregnancy, Dr. Talbot said. And the diaphragm, a muscle below the lungs, tends to move higher to accommodate the growing fetus, changing the way pregnant women breathe and making them more susceptible to respiratory infections.
Children become eligible for flu shots at 6 months old. The very first time they receive a flu vaccine, they need to get two doses, four weeks apart. After that, they can get one flu shot a year, Dr. Talbot said. Children who are older than 2 have the option of getting the FluMist nasal vaccine if they are afraid of needles.
Myths About The Flu Shot
One such myth is that flu vaccines can give you the flu. The vaccines are made from virus particles that are either inactivated or attenuated so they cannot cause illness. While it is possible to catch the flu even if you are vaccinated, the vaccine itself is not the culprit.
Another misconception is that getting vaccinated twice can provide added immunity. Research has found no additional benefit from getting more than one flu vaccine during the same flu season. Getting more than one flu shot is also not recommended because there are some areas where vaccine shortage can lead to those in need having a difficult time getting their shot, a circumstance also seen widely in the early months of the initial COVID-19 vaccine rollout.
The COVID-19 pandemic gave rise to another false idea, namely that getting vaccinated against the flu increases one’s risk of getting COVID-19. No scientific evidence exists to support this belief. One widely circulated study from 2020 seemed to suggest that this was, in fact, the case, but has since been debunked.
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Benefits Of Immunization In Pregnancy For The Mother
Vaccines recommended for the protection of a pregnant woman’s health include:
- inactivated influenza vaccine
- acellular pertussis vaccine
- hepatitis B vaccine if susceptible and with ongoing exposure risks
- hepatitis A vaccine if a close contact of a person with hepatitis A or if travelling to an endemic area
- meningococcal vaccine in an outbreak setting or post-exposure, or if indicated by medical condition
- pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine with or without conjugate vaccine if indicated by medical condition
- any other inactivated vaccine if indicated by exposure , travel or by medical condition .
Why Everyone Should Get The Flu Shoteven Babies And Pregnant Women
What you need to know if you’ve never taken your family for flu shots before.
When flu clinics open, my family will be first in line. As I write, my toddler is a lethargic, snotty mess with a rattling cough. My husband and I dont look much better. It was a rough night for the whole family, punctuated by unsettled fever dreams, midnight Tylenol doses and pathetic whimpers for water.
This is why well gladly roll up our sleeves and take a shot in the arm to prevent a repeat occurrence during the rest of the flu season.
But not every family is quite so sure about getting the flu shot. Here are some things you should know if youre on the fence, or if youve never gotten one before.
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Why Pregnant Women Should Get A Flu Shot
Question: I am pregnant and my doctor says I should get a flu shot to protect my unborn child and myself against influenza this winter. But I read a news story about a study that found the flu vaccine might be linked to an increased risk of miscarriages in pregnant women. Is this risk for real?
Answer: Even the researchers who did the study arent sure if the risk is real or if some error or statistical fluke can explain the link to miscarriages.
I was surprised by the findings, says Jim Donahue, the lead author of the study and an epidemiologist at the Marshfield Clinic Research Institute in Wisconsin.
In fact, he was involved in an earlier study that found no association between the vaccine and miscarriages during the 2005-2006 and 2006-2007 flu seasons. We didnt find anything remotely significant, he recalls.
That earlier study, which was funded by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , was part of an ongoing effort by the U.S. medical community to monitor the safety and effectiveness of vaccines.
The need for the latest study arose in 2009 after the emergence of a pandemic flu strain known as H1N1. A pandemic strain represents such a significant change in a virus that most people have had no prior exposure to anything like it. Without immunity in the population, a pandemic virus is capable of causing above-average levels of severe sickness and death.
The first thing you need to know is that this is not an easy study to do.
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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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.
What Goes Into Developing The Flu Vaccine
All flu vaccines administered in the U.S. are quadrivalent vaccines. They provide protection against four unique flu viruses: an influenza A virus, an influenza A virus, and two influenza B viruses.
The intravenous flu shot and the nasal spray flu vaccine are both typically produced by growing candidate vaccine viruses in fertilized hens’ eggs and then purifying the viral antigenor the virus particles that help the immune system mount its response to the virus. A flu vaccine can also be made by growing candidate viruses in mammalian cells and then purifying the viral antigen. The intravenous flu shot is an inactivated vaccine, containing dead strains of the viruses, while the nasal spray is a live attenuated vaccine, meaning the flu strains are alive but in weakened doses.
The egg-based process has been relied on by antivirus developers for more than 70 years, whereas the cell-based process was only approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2012. The advantage of the mammalian cell-based process is that it is much swifter than the egg-based process and is not contingent on there being enough eggs available for mass production.
For the 2022-2023 flu season, while the CDC makes no specific recommendation for which flu shot persons under the age of 65 should seek, it does recommend three different high-dose vaccines as best for those over 65.
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Can Getting Vaccines Affect My Unborn Baby
My workplace expects us to get several vaccines regularly. But I’m pregnant and worried these might not be safe for my baby. Should I be concerned? Emma
It’s best to get vaccines before pregnancy when possible, but some can be given while a woman is pregnant.
The flu vaccine is recommended for everyone, including pregnant women, during flu season. In fact, it’s extra important for pregnant women because the vaccine helps protect a mother and her baby from the flu in the baby’s first year of life. The flu vaccine comes in two forms: the flu shot and the nasal spray . Pregnant women should only get the flu shot. It’s made with a killed flu virus, so won’t affect the fetus. The nasal spray contains a live weaker form of the virus and isn’t safe for moms-to-be.
The Tdap vaccine is recommended for all pregnant women in the second half of each pregnancy, no matter if they’ve gotten it before or when they last got it. This is due to a rise in whooping cough infections, which can be fatal in newborns who have not yet had their routine vaccinations.
Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding can and should get a COVID-19 vaccine, including a booster dose. It is now known that the vaccine is safe for them and, of course, getting sick with COVID-19 is not safe. Pregnant women who get COVID-19 are at higher risk for severe illness than women who aren’t pregnant.
Before you get any vaccines during pregnancy, check with your doctor to make sure they’re right for you.
Why You Should Vaccinate Against Influenza In Pregnancy
Influenza vaccination is safe, free and recommended for pregnant women in each pregnancy.
Receiving the influenza vaccine when pregnant is the best way to protect newborn babies against influenza and other complications that can harm developing babies.
Why should you vaccinate against influenza in pregnancy?
00:06â> 00:22Influenza is not just a cold its a serious disease for pregnant women and their developing babies. Many women dont realise that during pregnancy there are changes to their immune, heart and lung functions that make them more vulnerable to severe illness from influenza.
00:23â> 00:28Im getting vaccinated because I had no idea how serious influenza really is for women during pregnancy.
00:29â> 00:32The influenza vaccine is safe at any time during pregnancy.
00:33â> 00:36Im getting vaccinated to protect myself and my baby.
00:37â> 00:45Influenza infection in infants can be dangerous. In the worst cases, it can lead to death from serious respiratory problems and pneumonia.
00:46 â> 00:56Thats why getting vaccinated during pregnancy is so important because it passes on protective antibodies to your baby which will protect them in the first few months of life when they are most vulnerable.
00:57 â> 01:07Im getting vaccinated because influenza is dangerous and I want to make sure my new born baby is protected until theyre old enough to get the influenza vaccination themselves at six months of age.
01:24 â> 01:28
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Does The Flu Vaccine Contain Thimerosal
Some flu vaccines that are stored in multidose vials prior to being drawn for a single-dose flu shot contain thimerosal to safeguard against contamination of the vial. Most single-dose vials and prefilled syringes of flu vaccine and the nasal spray flu vaccine don’t contain preservatives because they’re intended to be used once.
The CDC considers thimerosal safe for pregnant women and their developing babies, but if you’d like to get a thimerosal-free vaccine, they’re usually available. Just ask your doctor or pharmacist.
Okay Are There Any Extra Precautions Pregnant Women Should Take
Yepthe CDC, along with the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists , suggests getting the actual flu shot, not the nasal spray.
The nasal spray contains a live virus, says Dr. Urrutia. We dont recommend any vaccines with a live virus for pregnant people,” she says. That’s not necessarily because the spray will cause the flu, but because pregnant person’s immune systems are already lowered, so the active virus could potentially cause a slight fever.
Keep in mind, however, that some people might still get a low-grade fever and feel slightly tired or achey even after the shot, says Dr. Urrutia, and thats normal. Your body is creating an immune response to the vaccine, she says. If your fever goes above 100, or you get other symptoms like chest pain or shortness of breath, then get a medical appointment, ASAP.
But from there, the precautions pregnant people should take are just like the precautions anyone else should heedwhich means not getting the flu shot if you’re allergic to it or if you’re ill with a fever .
In addition to the shot, pregnant people should take the typical precautions for sidestepping the flu. That includes your regular germ-avoiding tactics, like washing your hands, covering your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, and staying away from other sick people, says Dr. Urrutia.
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