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Pregnant women urged to arm themselves against flu

Expecting mothers in Bury are being urged to protect themselves and their baby from flu.

Pregnant women are at high risk of suffering the ill effects of flu making them a priority group for seasonal flu vaccination this year. They should have the vaccine as soon as possible but it is still worthwhile being vaccinated even in the late stage of their pregnancy.

In pregnancy, the immune system is naturally suppressed. Pregnant women are more likely to catch flu, and if they do catch it, they are more likely to develop complications.

Most pregnant women that do catch flu will have only mild symptoms and will recover within a week, but some will develop complications including pneumonia, difficulty breathing and dehydration.

The flu vaccine can be safely and effectively administered during any stage of pregnancy and the vaccine itself does not present an increased risk of complications to either the mother or baby.


Dr Kiran Patel, Chairman and Clinical Lead for NHS Bury Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “Pregnant women are one of the groups particularly vulnerable to flu, so it’s important to be well prepared and to take precautions against catching it.

“The majority of pregnant women catching flu will have mild symptoms, but for some, unfortunately, the effects are more serious.  I’d urge pregnant women to consider the option of being vaccinated fully, and if they have any concerns to talk to their GP, practice nurse or midwife to find out more."

The flu jab is available free of charge on the NHS to eligible groups. Pregnant women and other eligible patients should contact their GP practice to make an appointment to get the jab.

Other groups of people who are deemed ‘at risk’ to developing serious complications from flu, and who are urged to get vaccinated are people aged 65 and over, and children and adults living with a long term health condition such as asthma, diabetes or heart disease. Carers, 2-4 years olds, and those living in nursing or residential homes are also offered the vaccine, as well as front line health and social care workers.

ENDS

Date: 20th October 2014

FOR PRESS & MEDIA ENQUIRIES: contact Emma Wharfe, Communications and Engagement Officer on 07795 507 462 or email buccg.communications@nhs.net

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