According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), most people who get the flu will have mild illness, will not need medical care or antiviral drugs, and will recover in less than two weeks. Some people, however, are more likely to get flu complications that result in being hospitalized and occasionally result in death. Pneumonia, bronchitis, sinus infections and ear infections are examples of flu-related complications. The flu also can make chronic health problems worse. For example, people with asthma may experience asthma attacks while they have the flu, and people with chronic congestive heart failure may experience a worsening of this condition that is triggered by the flu. The list below includes the groups of people more likely to get flu-related complications if they get sick from influenza.
People at High Risk for Developing Flu-Related Complications:
- Children younger than 5, but especially children younger than 2 years old (http://www.cdc.gov/flu/parents/index.htm)
- Adults 65 years of age and older (http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/disease/65over.htm)
- Pregnant women (http://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/vaccine/pregnant.htm)
Even though Ebola has been the highlight of recent news articles, the “real scare” of flu and cold season is among us. According to doctors, and a recent story on ABC news, with the recent data about Ebola, it is even more important to get your flu vaccine now! Chances are about a thousand times higher that you will get a common bug or a virus, than you will Ebola, so please consider protecting yourself now. Local emergency rooms will be flooded with sick patients, worried about the symptoms they are having. Fewer flu cases could mean fewer Ebola “false alarms”.
So your pregnant, you say? Congratulations! According to the CDC, pregnant women do need influenza vaccine, and it should be the injectable version, and not the live attenuated ‘Flu-mist”. Please read the fact sheet from the CDC and the infographic sheet if you have questions about the safety of flu vaccine during pregnancy.
If you are a breastfeeding mother, The American College of Obstetricians and Gynocologists (ACOG) strongly recommends breastfeeding mothers receive the ‘Flu-mist”or the injection, whichever is appropriate. Heather Knott, RN-IBCLC