published Thursday, November 17th, 2011

ASK A DOCTOR

Q: Is it safe to obtain a flu vaccine during pregnancy?

A: The answer is yes. The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology recommends that all women regardless of obstetric age receive the influenza vaccination. This vaccine is considered safe during pregnancy because it is a nonliving vaccin-ation. Influenza can be a debilitating disease for anyone. However, it can be more severe during pregnancy. While you are pregnant, your immune system can be mildly compromised to help protect the developing baby. Thus, any disease you can get when not pregnant can be worse when you are pregnant. Pregnant women who get the influenza virus are at higher risk for being hospitalized for more severe symptoms, overlying bacterial infection and viral pneumonia. The vaccine is safe during any time of the pregnancy. If you have been exposed to someone with the flu, the patient could take anti-viral medications for prevention. If you do test positive for the flu, the same anti-viral medication can be used for treatment. This medication is safe to take at any time during the pregnancy.

-- Dr. Chris Innes, Obstetrics & Gynecology

of Hixson; member,

Chattanooga-Hamilton County Medical Society

Readers: To submit a question for a medical doctor, e-mail it to Clint Cooper at ccooper@timesfreepress.com. See this space each week for answers.

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