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Note To Pregnant Women Get Your Flu Shot Says Health Officials

Health officials are urging pregnant women to get flu shots.

Influenza, particularly the novel H1N1 strain, causes more severe symptoms in pregnant women than women who are not pregnant.

“First of all, pregnancy affects a lot of physiology,” said Dr. Supha Arthurs of St. Alexius Medical Center. “Heart and lung function is compromised.”

The outbreak of H1N1 last year made this connection between influenza and pregnant women more prevalent, prompting the recommendation that they receive the shot. The nasal vaccine spray is not approved for use in pregnant women, so doctors are only recommending the shot, she said.

The vaccine also could provide protection from influenza for the baby because antibodies from the vaccine cross the placenta. This could be beneficial because infants under 6 months old cannot get a flu shot.

The flu vaccines include two strains of seasonal influenza plus a strain of the novel H1N1 influenza. In the shot it is a killed virus and in the nasal spray, it is an inactivated virus.

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