Category Archives: Infant and Maternal Health

National Influenza Vaccination Week Dec 7-13 2014

From Florida’s Immunization Section in Tallahassee: We are pleased to remind our immunization partners about the upcoming observance of National Influenza Vaccination Week (NIVW).

National Influenza Vaccination Week is an annual observance to highlight the importance of continuing influenza vaccination though the holiday season and beyond. This year NIVW is scheduled for December 7–13, 2014.

  • Flu vaccination activity drops after the end of November. The CDC and partners want to remind the public that even through the holiday season is upon us it’s not too late to get a flu vaccine. As long as flu viruses are spreading and causing illness vaccination can provide protection against the flu
  • CDC Recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone 6-months of age and older as the first and most important step in protecting against influenza disease.

A goal of NIVW is to communicate the importance of flu vaccination for people who are at high risk for developing flu-related complications: Young children, pregnant women, people with certain chronic health conditions and people 65-years and older. A full list of “People at High Risk of Developing Flu–Related Complications” is available at: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/disease/high_risk.htm.

There are many choices available for flu vaccine, both in terms of where to get vaccinated and what vaccine to get. Millions of doses of influenza vaccine have been administered to people safely for decades. Once vaccinated people can enjoy their holiday season knowing they protected themselves and their loved ones against the flu.

 
Please visit the CDC resource site at: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/nivw/ to obtain educational and promotional materials to encourage community participation for NIVW activities. 

Two Excellent Resources for Moms and Babies!

The National Healthy Mothers, Health Babies Coalition is a great resource that targets helpful information for all mothers and those planning motherhood. This group has partnered with Text4Baby.Org to send important health-related tips and reminders to moms.

About Text4Baby:  Women sign up by texting BABY or BEBE to 511411 to receive three free text messages per week throughout their pregnancy and baby’s first year. The messages are personalized to the mother’s due date or baby’s birth date on topics including: nutrition, safe sleep, developmental milestones and more. Evaluation results from a California State University San Marcos/University of California San Diego study of Text4baby participants show Text4baby facilitates increased communication with health providers, effectively reminds women of their appointments, and informs women of medical warning signs they didn’t know. A separate George Washington University study found that Text4baby moms feel three times more prepared for motherhood than non-Text4baby participants.

With these resources all mothers are able to have information and advice from leading experts at their fingertips!

Reblogged from National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition

 

Pregnancy & Flu Don’t Mix: Keep Moms-to-Be Healthy This Season

January 21st, 2014

by Siobhan Dolan, M.D. Obstetrician gynecologist and clinical geneticist, Albert Einstein College of Medicine/Montefiore Medical Center Medical Advisor, March of Dimes Author of Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby

 

According to CDC reports, overall flu activity continues to be high. In mid-January, 35 states are reporting widespread flu activity, and 10 flu-related deaths of children have been confirmed.

Now that we are moving into peak flu season, I want to remind every pregnant woman to go get her flu shot.  And it’s not too late! Getting a flu vaccination is the best way to protect yourself and your baby from the flu.

CDC surveillance data has shown that the predominant flu strain this year is H1N1, the same that emerged in 2009 to cause a pandemic. Since this strain causes more severe illness in children and young adults, compared to older adults, young women and children are at increased risk.  So it is even more important to be vaccinated if you are pregnant. The flu vaccine is safe and effective during pregnancy.

In addition to getting the vaccine, here’s what you should know about flu and pregnancy:

THE FLU CAN HARM YOUR PREGNANCY.

Health complications from the flu, such as pneumonia, can be serious and even deadly, especially if you’re pregnant. Pregnant women who get the flu are more likely than women who don’t get it to have preterm labor and premature birth. Prematurity can cause serious lifelong health problems for your baby.

The flu can be harmful during pregnancy because when you’re pregnant, your immune system isn’t as quick to respond to illnesses as it was before pregnancy. Your body naturally lowers the immune system’s ability to protect you and respond to illnesses so that it can welcome your growing baby. But a lowered immune system means you’re more likely to catch illnesses like the flu.

Another reason the flu can be harmful during pregnancy is that your heart and lungs are already working hard to keep up with the demands of the growing fetus.  They can’t always keep up with the stress placed on them by influenza infection.  As a result, pregnant women are more likely to be hospitalized in intensive care and more likely to die from complications of flu.

DON’T IGNORE FLU-LIKE SYMPTOMS DURING PREGNANCY.

If you think you might have the flu, call your health care provider right away.

Your doctor can give you antiviral medicines to help fight the flu, but you need a prescription for them. So call your doctor as soon as you have symptoms and are concerned.  It’s important to start these medicines right away.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends two antiviral medicines for flu. Talk to your provider about which medicine is right for you:

1.     Oseltamivir (Tamiflu) 2.     Zanamivir (Relenza)

Fever is a symptom of the flu that can last a week or longer. A fever caused by flu infection or other infections early in pregnancy can lead to birth defects in a fetus. Pregnant women who get a fever should call their doctor as soon as possible. You can ask your health care provider if you can take acetaminophen (Tylenol®) to bring down your fever.

And remember: It’s not too late to get the flu vaccine. It is offered in many locations, including doctor’s offices, clinics, health departments, and pharmacies. Visit the HealthMap Vaccine Finder to locate where you can get a flu shot.

For more information about pregnancy and flu:

March of Dimes

CDC 1-800-CDC-INFO

ACOG