'Tis the Season
This year's flu season is certainly not your standard flu season. 2010 brings not only the current seasonal flu variety, but also the pandemic H1N1 virus, commonly known as Swine Flu. These are two separate viruses. H1N1 is not only of great concern for all members of the population, but also of particularly serious concern for pregnant women. The single most important action, strongly recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), is for pregnant women to be vaccinated against both the seasonal flu and, most importantly, H1N1. Both the seasonal flu vaccine and the H1N1 vaccine can be administered at the same time, at separate injection sites. There are two methods of dispensing the flu vaccine; either by injection or by a nasal spray (Flu Mist). For immunization of pregnant women, only the injectable vaccine should be administered. Ob/Gyn practices will be the first to receive the vaccine. Patients should plan to be vaccinated at their Ob office.
!(http://www.pacificfertilitycenter.com/fertilityflash/vol8-1/tistheseason.jpg) Above: Tis the season to be conscious about germs
In addition to the flu vaccines, there is medication available to treat those with symptoms of the flu or those who have been exposed to someone with the flu. Symptoms of the flu can include: cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills, fatigue, and sometimes diarrhea and vomiting. Fever is common, but it is important to note that not everyone with flu will have a fever. If you have symptoms or if you have been exposed to someone who has the flu, call your doctor right away. Pregnant women with suspected influenza, or experiencing more severe symptoms such as evidence of lower respiratory tract infection or clinical deterioration should receive prompt empiric antiviral therapy, regardless of previous health or age. Most healthy persons who develop an illness consistent with uncomplicated influenza, or persons who appear to be recovering from influenza, do not need antiviral medications for treatment or prophylaxis. Pregnant women exposed to someone with influenza should consider antiviral chemoprophylaxis. Chemoprophylaxis should generally be reserved for persons at higher risk for influenza-related complications who have had contact with someone likely to have been infected with influenza. However, early treatment is an emphasized alternative to chemoprophylaxis after a suspected exposure. Household or close contacts (with risk factors for influenza complications) of confirmed or suspected cases can be counseled about the early signs and symptoms of influenza, and advised to immediately contact their healthcare provider for evaluation and possible early treatment if clinical signs or symptoms develop. Early recognition of illness and treatment when indicated is preferred to chemoprophylaxis for vaccinated persons after a suspected exposure. Go to the emergency room immediately if you have difficulty breathing, or shortness of breath, pain or pressure in your chest or abdomen, sudden dizziness or severe or persistent vomiting. Prevention is certainly the best defense--and there are a number of things we can all do to minimize the spread of flu this season. Wash your hands! Frequent hand washing or use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers is a major preventative measure. Carry a hand sanitizer in your purse, in the car, even a small bottle in your pocket. You can use them just about anywhere at any time. Cough into your elbow! This helps to keep your germs to yourself. Keep your hands away from your face! You will not be infected with the flu by touching a contaminated surface -- unless you then touch your eyes, nose, or mouth. Stay away from sick people if you are healthy and from healthy people if you are sick! You do not want to knowingly expose yourself, but remember, if it does happen, call your doctor straight away. You do not want to spread the flu if you have it. Stay home and stay away from other family members as much as possible and make sure to call your doctor as soon as you have symptoms. The CDC will continue to update their website as there is new information: For general information on 2009 H1N1 flu go to: [cdc.gov/h1n1flu/qa.htm](http://cdc.gov/h1n1flu/qa.htm) For more information on flu shots go to: [cdc.gov/h1n1flu/vaccination](http://cdc.gov/h1n1flu/vaccination/)