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The Flu and You-What to do!
Amie Brunner, RN - January 16, 2018
It is that time of year again. Influenza, or the more commonly known flu, is very common in our communities, and it can be very serious. We want to give you some information about prevention and treatment for influenza. According to the CDC, getting the flu can cause serious problems when you are pregnant. Even if a pregnant woman is considered generally healthy, changes in immune, heart, and lung functions during pregnancy put pregnant women who get flu at a higher risk of developing serious illness. Pregnant women are also more apt to get severely ill from influenza and may even require hospitalization.

Learn about how to prevent catching the flu and your treatment options should you catch it. Also, find information about our flu-related visitor restrictions and how it will impact you and your family should you have your baby while restrictions are in place this winter. 

Prevention is Key!

  • Following good hand hygiene practices is one of the best prevention tools.
  • Getting your flu shot is a way to give protection to both you and your baby! It is safe to get your flu vaccine while pregnant. Talk to your doctor or OBGYN about getting the flu shot. If this does not happen, get it as soon after delivery as you can.

When you get your flu shot, your body will start producing antibodies that help protect you against the flu. It takes about two weeks for your body to make antibodies after getting a flu vaccine. These antibodies are also passed on to your growing baby. The antibodies that you give your baby will help protect them for several months, even after birth. Babies younger than six months are too young to get a flu vaccine so this is very helpful. Additional antibodies are passed to your baby in breastmilk. 
 

Treatment if You Catch it...

If you get flu symptoms (fever, cough, body aches headache), call your doctor immediately. Even if you have already had a flu shot, you may have a similar virus that can be treated with medication like Tamiflu. Your doctor can prescribe you medication that may be able to shorten the length of your illness and decrease the possibility of complications if given at the appropriate time - within 48 hours of symptom onset.
 

Schneck Flu Restrictions

Schneck has implemented Flu Restrictions to better help protect our patients, hospital staff, and the community from the spread of influenza. Due to the flu restrictions, no more than three visitors may be admitted to a patient’s room at one time. Visitors include immediate family and significant others. 

In addition, all visitors must be 18 years of age or older, which means younger siblings are unable to visit and meet their new sibling in the hospital. We understand families want older siblings to visit the hospital to see Mommy and meet the new baby, easing the transition to a larger family. We also understand the importance of keeping older siblings healthy by staying home or staying away from the newborn baby should they have the flu but don't show symptoms yet.

The flu is extremely dangerous for newborns, so we want to do everything we can to minimize the chance for the baby to get sick. Once you are home, be very vigilant that every person, every time uses proper hand hygiene. 
 
Anyone with the following symptoms is asked to refrain from visiting patients:
  • Fever and/or chills
  • Sore throat
  • Muscle aches
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Cough
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Vomiting and/or diarrhea (particularly impacts children)
All visitors must wash their hands using soap and water or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer before and after visiting a patient. Hand sanitizer can be found throughout the hospital as well as outside each patient’s room.

Please feel free to call the Schneck Family Life Center at (812) 522-0435 if you have any questions.

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