Pregnant women advised to get the flu shot

Posted at: 01/18/2013 4:14 PM
Updated at: 01/18/2013 5:40 PM
By: staff

The number of people suffering from the flu for the second straight week has gone down in New Mexico.

It's good news, but doctors say getting the flu shot is still the best thing you can do.

And for some women, they could be protecting more than just themselves.

Newborns are too young for a flu shot, but doctors are saying they have protection for the first six months of life if their mothers got the vaccine while pregnant.

"I got it before the flu season started, when I was a little shy of seven months," new mom Leyla Otero said.

"The antibodies cross the placenta, and then if she breast feeds, uh, she's giving more antibodies in the breast milk,” Dr. Edward McCabe, with the March of Dimes, said,

The greatest evidence for McCabe is a recent study that showed pregnant women who got the flu were more likely to miscarry. That risk is lessened if they'd been vaccinated, but still got a milder or different strain of the flu. That same study showed the flu shot is safe for pregnant women and their babies with no serious side effects.

"This serious business,” McCabe said, “It's important for moms to get their flu shots."

The flu is also hitting older members of society. That was evident with the recent news that there were five flu-related deaths in our state - all were over the age of 55.

The latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate flu cases remain widespread throughout the country.

Hawaii, Tennessee and Washington, D.C. are the only areas that have been spared from the brunt of the viral storm.