By now you’ve probably heard that flu activity is widespread throughout the United States. If you’re pregnant or have a baby, here’s some information that may help during this flu season.
Signs and symptoms of the flu
- Cough or sore throat
- Feeling very tired
- Fever, chills, or body shakes
- Muscle or body aches
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Not being hungry
- Vomiting (throwing up) and diarrhea (more common in children)
Fever and most other symptoms can last a week or longer. Some people can be sick from the flu for a long time, including children, people older than 65, pregnant women and women who have recently had a baby.
Treating the flu
If you think you or anyone in your family may have the flu, call your health care provider right away. She may prescribe an antiviral medicine to prevent or treat the flu. Antivirals kill infections caused by viruses. They can make the flu milder and help you feel better faster. Antivirals also can help prevent serious flu complications, like pneumonia. For flu, antivirals work best if you take them within 2 days of having symptoms.
If you’re pregnant and have a fever, call your provider as soon as possible and take acetaminophen.
If your baby has a fever, ask her provider if you can give her infant’s or children’s acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
Protect yourself and others from the flu
When you have the flu, you can spread it to others. Here’s what you can do to help prevent it from spreading:
- Stay home when sick and limit contact with others.
- Don’t kiss anyone.
- Cough or sneeze into a tissue or into your arm. Throw used tissues in the trash.
- Try not to touch your eyes, nose or mouth.
- Wash your hands with soap and water before touching anyone. You also can use alcohol-based hand sanitizers. Use enough hand sanitizer so that it takes at least 15 seconds for your hands to dry.
- Use hot, soapy water or a dishwasher to wash your dishes and utensils.
- Don’t share your dishes, glasses, utensils or toothbrush.
Is it too late to get a flu shot?
No it’s not too late! You can still get a flu shot. Getting a flu shot is safe for most pregnant women and it can help prevent you from getting the flu. The flu shot may make your symptoms milder and prevent complications if you do get sick. You can get the shot from your health care provider or pharmacies. Use the HealthMap Vaccine Finder to find out where you can get the flu vaccine.