August 29, 2014

Flu risks heightened for pregnant women

The unfolding flu season has health officials in Wisconsin concerned, especially for pregnant women. “We actually have had about 33 hospitalizations so far this year,” said state epidemiologist Tom Haupt. That’s unusual, because flu-related hospitalizations don’t usually begin until after the first of the year. That number also included four pregnant women who had not been immunized, compared to nine all of last flu season.

That has spurred Haupt and others to get the word out. “If they are pregnant or planning to deliver or become pregnant anytime during the influenza season, now’s the time to get immunized, and avoid any complications,” said Haupt.

That’s especially true since we may be headed for a flu season that’s going to be more severe than last year’s fairly mild outbreak. “The fact that it’s an influenza AH-3 year, usually means that it has the potential to be a more severe year, especially among people with underlying risk factors,” which would include pregnant women,” said Haupt. “It is very safe, and there are no contraindications for being pregnant and not getting the vaccine, so we’re strongly encouraging that they get the vaccine as soon as possible.”