June 27, 2017

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Do Pregnant Women Need to Get a Flu Shot?

Pregnant WomanACMC clinics have recently begun holding flu clinics and among those who should get their shots are pregnant women.  Although the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends all persons 6 months and older should get vaccinated during the flu season, it is especially important for young children, people 50 and older, pregnant women, and people with certain health conditions such as heart, lung or kidney disease, or a weakened immune system.

Should I be in a certain trimester before I get the shot?

No, all pregnant women, regardless of how far along they are in their pregnancy, should get the flu shot.  Family members of pregnant women should also get the flu shot to help prevent the spread of flu at home.  Often times in the clinic I hear from moms that they are afraid of getting the flu shot because they don’t want to cause any undo harm to their unborn child.  There is no evidence that the flu shot will cause harm to your unborn baby and so all healthy, expecting moms should get vaccinated.  In fact, the flu shot can protect the infant after delivery up to 6 months which is good because the flu shot cannot be given to a baby less than 6 months old.

Do I have to get the flu shot or can I get the mist?

There is a difference between the flu shot and the flu mist.  The flu shot is considered to be an inactivated (killed) vaccine and is given by injection with a needle.  The flu mist is a live, attenuated (weakened) vaccine and is sprayed into the nostrils.  Because it is a live virus, the flu mist is NOT recommended to be given to pregnant women or those with other serious health problems.

Is there any information I should share with my doctor before I get the flu shot?

You should tell your doctor if you have any severe (life-threatening) allergies, including a severe allergy to eggs.  You should also tell your doctor if you have had a severe reaction after receiving the flu vaccine in the past or if you have ever had Guillain-Barre Syndrome.

Is there a recommended month to get my flu shot?

Flu vaccines usually start in the end of September and are given all the way through the month of May. Although it may seem early to get your flu shot now, it is better to get vaccinated against the flu virus as soon as you can; don’t wait until flu season has peaked.  It can take up to two weeks until you develop protection from the flu.

If you have any questions about whether or not you and your family members should get the flu shot, talk to your healthcare provider.  If you would like to schedule an appointment to get a flu shot, visit our website to find the number to your ACMC clinic.