Let’s Talk About The Flu (Influenza)
Winter is a hard time to stay healthy, with so many nasty germs going around. This year, influenza, has been especially miserable. We call it the “flu,” and it’s a respiratory illness that effects the sinuses, nose, throat, and lungs, and sometimes causes vomiting and diarrhea. We go to the CDC website for all the latest information and recommendations, and here, specifically for pregnant patients.
IF I’M EXPOSED, WHEN WILL I GET SICK?
The average onset of symptoms is 1 to 4 days
WHAT DOES THE FLU LOOK/FEEL LIKE:
- Fever or feeling feverish/chills (not everyone with the flu will have a fever)
- Sore throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Muscle or body aches
- Fatigue (very tired)
- Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, most common in young children
WHO GETS THE FLU:
Anyone. Even young, extremely healthy adults.
How Bad Can It Be?
Serious problems related to the flu can happen at any age. Complications of flu can include bacterial pneumonia, ear infections, sinus infections, and worsening of chronic medical conditions, such as congestive heart failure, asthma, or diabetes.
People especially likely to get severely ill from the flu are:
- Pregnant women
- Young children
- People aged 65+
- Anyone with chronic medical conditions (like asthma, diabetes, heart disease)
HOW TO PREVENT THE FLU:
We recommend, in accordance with the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, that our patients get the flu vaccine each fall, to attempt to prevent experiencing the worst of it. This is especially important in our pregnant patients- to protect themselves, and the babies.
We also recommend, trying to avoid the spread of the flu, which travels by tiny droplets through coughing, sneezing, and talking, passing from person to person through the air. Stay away from people who are sick, cover coughs and sneezes, and wash your hands frequently. We are limiting visitors to the hospital right now (no one under 13 years old) to try to reduce the spread of the flu to especially vulnerable patients.
WHEN ARE YOU CONTAGIOUS?
People with the flu are most contagious in the first 3-4 days after their illness begins, some otherwise healthy adults may be able to infect others beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 5 to 7 days after becoming sick. Some people, especially young children and people with weakened immune systems, might be able to infect others with flu viruses for an even longer time.
DIAGNOSING THE FLU:
At the first sign of symptoms, call your provider. They may recommend you get a nasal swab to confirm. They may also recommend you be treated with an anti-viral medication to try to reduce the severity of your symptoms and the time you are suffering.
More information is available: “Seasonal Influenza, More Information.”
If you have any suspicion that you have the flu, please call your primary care physician or your Oakland Macomb OBGYn provider right away. The sooner we address it, the safer you (and baby) are. We recommend not going to the emergency room, unless you have severely high fevers, are having any difficulty breathing, or are unable to keep down water.