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Flu shot question

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Flu shot question

Postby mom2ella » Thu Oct 18, 2007 09:10 am

by mom2ella (238 Posts), Thu Oct 18, 2007 09:10 am

I searched the forums but didn't find much on flu shots. I am currently considering ttc for November. I am taking folic acid, baby aspirin, prenatal vitamins and Procardia for blood pressure right now. When I am pg I will also be taking Heparin injections, hopefully within the next couple of months. So they are harassing us at my work about getting a flu shot but I am nervous about putting anything else in my body, especially when we'll be ttc soon. I know they usually do recommend the shot but what about when you're on all this other junk? I should also say that I've only had the flu once in my life when I was 10 and I've never had the shot before. Just wondering if anyone had any opinions on this...and of course I'll be asking my doctor.
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Re : Flu shot question

Postby onesock » Thu Oct 18, 2007 09:43 am

by onesock (1606 Posts), Thu Oct 18, 2007 09:43 am

Gee, I don't know...that is a tough question. I know that they recommend it for pregnant women. I am not a big advocate of the flu shot for healthy adults...the only time I got it, I got the flu sooo bad. My kids get it every year, as our pedi is all about it. I would ask your OB or peri what they think. I can see your concerns, for sure. I am always worried about taking something that may affect the future baby too! Let us know what you find out! :) By the way, the flu shot contains the strains that have been PREDICTED to be the worst, not necessarily a for sure thing. JMO...can you tell that I am not convinced of their effectiveness??? haha
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Re : Flu shot question

Postby mom29 » Thu Oct 18, 2007 09:46 am

by mom29 (1391 Posts), Thu Oct 18, 2007 09:46 am

If it has the thimersol preservative (mercury) I wouldn't get it. Pregnant mothers are told to watch their fish intake because of the mercury so why get a shot with it? Of course I'm not a dr., just my opinion.
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Re : Flu shot question

Postby mkvh » Thu Oct 18, 2007 10:27 am

by mkvh (274 Posts), Thu Oct 18, 2007 10:27 am

For certain, the flu shot is NOT recommended for women in their first trimester. I don't know about TTC, though. Definitely a question for your OB.
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Re : Flu shot question

Postby josiah1112 » Thu Oct 18, 2007 12:19 am

by josiah1112 (1368 Posts), Thu Oct 18, 2007 12:19 am

I would NOT get it.
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Re : Flu shot question

Postby kara » Thu Oct 18, 2007 12:47 am

by kara (6614 Posts), Thu Oct 18, 2007 12:47 am

There are a LOT of misconceptions about the flu shot, mostly based on innaccurate information and fear. I'm a strong proponent of the flu shot, because people are hospitalized and some die from Influenza every year.

The Mayo Clinic says that all women who are expecting to be pregnant during flu season SHOULD get the flu shot. With pregnancy your immune system is a bit compromised to begin with, and your heart and lungs can be taxed as well, so pregnant women are not only at a higher risk of catching the flu, but from suffering serious effects of the flu. Not to mention we PE moms have funky stuff going on in our bodies during pregnancy anyway.
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/influenza/AN00651

Lots of people take lots of medications, and it's usually those who are the most ill that need the flu shot the most. This is why when there are shortages in the flu vaccine that children, the elderly, and those with chronic diseases and compromised immune systems get first dibs.

That being said, mkvh is correct that you shouldn't get the flu shot during your first trimester, but before pregnancy it is recommended and in your 2nd or 3rd trimester it is ok as well. And remember NOT to get the nasal spray vaccine as that uses a live virus, rather than an inactive or dead virus like the shot. Those who are allergic to eggs should not get the flu shot either.

It doesn't matter how long it's been since you've had the flu, as the flu virus strains change every year, so the flu shot changes every year, and you just never know when you might get it. ;-) It won't be effective against all the strains, just those predicted to be the most prevelant for the season as onesock notes above.

Please DO talk to your doctor about it. October and November are the best times to get the shot, though you can get it later and still receive benefits as peak flu season is often in January in the US. I was in the late 2nd trimester at the start of flu season, and my doctor was adamant that I get the flu shot. I had the shot several years in a row prior to pregnancy, and have had it since because I had a preemie at home, and it was again a requirement.

I've gotten flu-like illness 2 or 3 times, but it was a mild and abbreviated flu(or some other virus) that lasted only a couple of days.

Healthy adults should receive the vaccine when it's supply is readily available and not in shortage, because we can pass it on to the young, sick or immune comprimised, and the elderly, even if you don't get sick from it. Those who've gotten the flu shortly after receiving a shot were likely to have already had the flu virus when they got the shot, and it was a cruel coincidence....or they had another virus that mimics the flu symptoms, but was actually unrelated to the influenza virus. You can't actually get the flu from the flu shot, because it is a dead virus. Though you can experience mild fever and aches for a day or two. People die every year from the flu, and pregnant women are often hospitalized if they suffer serious effects of the flu...so I think it's worth it.

Here's some info from the Centers for Disease Control, too:
http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/qa/thimerosal.htm (Thimerosal - part on pregnant women is several paragraphs down)

http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/vis/downloads/vis-flu.pdf (FAQ)

Good luck in your decision and your dicussion with your doctor!
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Re : Flu shot question

Postby caryn » Thu Oct 18, 2007 02:41 pm

by caryn (10124 Posts), Thu Oct 18, 2007 02:41 pm

Here's the thing -- if you get the flu in the first trimester, the inflammatory response that your body mounts to eliminate the flu may interfere with placentation. Or, it may not. But IIRC that's why they don't recommend the shot in the first trimester either -- your body mounts an inflammatory response in addition to the recognition of foreign proteins response.

Personally, I would get it before ttc, to try to keep away from as many inflammatory triggers as possible.

Here's a recent article on flu shots for those at risk. It goes into some of the background on the hygiene hypothesis too: http://www.preeclampsia.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=24729
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