The FLU ends with “U”. That is the current slogan of the Flu Vaccination Week in the US.
Pregnant women are pretty wary of taking medications. With good reason. Many medications can affect the growing baby in the womb that can lead to fetal malformation, preterm labor or still birth. A well-known case was that of thalidomide in 1950s which caused tens of thousands of cases of birth defects. Hence in most cases, women are not supposed to take any medications during pregnancy unless absolutely necessary.
However, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) in US are asking pregnant women to make an exception when it comes to the seasonal influenza vaccine. ACOG and ACIP are recommending that pregnant women should have flu shot regardless in which trimester they are in. Health authorities are assuring these women that the shot is safe and will provide protection for them and their unborn child.
Another special group of people urged to get flu shots are the senior citizens. Early last month, the US Dept of Health and Human Services (HHS) organized a webcast wherein senior Americans could address their questions about the flu to the health experts, including US Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. Info on flu prevention especially addressed to elderly adults aged 65 and older is available on the flu.gov site. The 3 key recommendations are:
A public service announcement from the HHS will be sure to get the flu message to kids and their parents. After all, who wouldn’t listen to Sesame Street star Elmo? HHS Secretary Sebelius, with the help of this popular TV character, appeared on a webcast with this message: Be Healthy America.
Finally, everybody in the community have the duty to protect themselves and help prevent the spread of flu.HHS gives us 5 simple tips to do this:
- The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that every person 6 months and older receive an annual flu vaccine. Check with your local health department www.flu.gov to find out where and when you and your family can be vaccinated.