Meridian Health Encourages H1N1 Flu Awareness For Pregnant Women
Tips and guidelines on how to ensure expectant moms stay healthy this season plus what to do if they contract H1N1
Pregnant women have been identified as a high-risk group this flu season as the H1N1 flu has affected them at an astounding rate. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have recommended that all expectant mothers get vaccinated against the H1N1 virus to protect both themselves and their unborn child.
"A pregnant woman's immune system can cause her to become more sensitive to influenza and can in turn result in complications if infected with H1N1," says Richard J. Scott, M.D., senior vice president of clinical effectiveness and medical affairs for Meridian Health. "It is strongly recommended that all pregnant women receive the H1N1 vaccine as soon as possible, since severe illness in the mother can be extremely harmful for the fetus." It is also important to note that expectant mothers should not receive the FluMist as this is a live virus and can be potentially harmful to the fetus.
Prevention in this case is key, so in addition to receiving both seasonal flu and H1N1 vaccinations, expectant mothers should also wash their hands frequently, avoid touching their eyes, nose or mouth, and notify a doctor if someone else in the home has H1N1, as an anti-viral may be needed to prevent illness.
If flu-like illness is suspected it is essential that people speak with their physician as soon as possible. Doctors will decide if anti-viral treatment is necessary and will advise a plan of action in order to have the best outcome for mother and baby.
For further information on the H1N1 virus or the seasonal flu, please visit flu.gov.
Meridian Health is a family of not-for-profit health care organizations comprising Jersey Shore University Medical Center and K. Hovnanian Children's Hospital in Neptune, Ocean Medical Center in Brick, Riverview Medical Center in Red Bank, and Meridian Partner Companies that include home health services, skilled nursing and rehabilitation centers, ambulatory care, ambulance services, and occupational health centers located throughout Monmouth and Ocean counties.