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Doctors encourage expecting mothers to get flu shot

West Virginia
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February 07 2021 06:00 pm

HUNTINGTON, W.Va (WOWK) – Flu season is here until May and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it’s more likely to cause severe illness in pregnant women.

Due to the changes happening to a woman’s body during pregnancy, specifically the immune system, expecting mothers are more likely to become ill. Doctors say getting the flu shot is shown to benefit more than just mom.

Dr. Katherine Addicott with Marshall Obstetrics and Gynecology says getting a flu shot is a must for pregnant women.

“We recommend it in pretty much all of our pregnant patients,” Dr. Addicott said.

The flu vaccine has been shown to cut the risk of flu-associated acute respiratory infection in pregnant women by about half, according to the CDC. Getting vaccinated doesn’t just help the mom-to-be.

“You start passing those antibodies, which are the things that help fight off the virus, to the baby,” Dr. Addicott said.

More than 80 percent of pregnancies coincide with flu season and exposure is likely, according to the CDC. While there has been an increase in expecting mothers getting their flu shot to one in every two moms, Dr. Addicott says there’s a myth that might be getting in the way of that number being higher.

“In terms of the flu vaccine, there is absolutely no scientific data that links autism to the flu vaccine, so it’s perfectly safe for you to get,” Dr. Addicott said.

Dr. Addicott says pregnant women who don’t get the flu vaccine and end up getting the flu are at a much higher risk of getting more sick than usual and could be admitted to the hospital.

“A lot of moms end up going to the ICU when they get the flu without the flu shot,” Dr. Addicott said.

The flu vaccine can be given during any trimester of pregnancy, and Dr. Addicott says mothers-to-be need to talk to their doctor.

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