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Flu season is here, and health officials are warning that it's going to be a doozy this year — especially for pregnant women. The World Health Organization said that moms-to-be "should be given top priority for the flu vaccine over the elderly, children and people with chronic health conditions," ABC News reports.
Pregnant women are more susceptible to serious complications from infection with all types of influenza viruses "because their immune systems are slightly depressed to accommodate the growing baby, according to the ABC News report. Pregnant women comprise 1 percent of the population, yet in 2009, 6 percent of deaths from the H1N1 pandemic were among pregnant women.
Flu refers to illness caused by a number of different influenza viruses. The flu can cause a range of symptoms including high fevers, headaches, sore throats, muscle aches, dry cough, fatigue, nausea, and vomiting.
Experts say vaccination is your best possible protection against any influenza virus. Your next best bet? “Wash your hands, wash your hands, wash your hands,” advises Denise Jamieson, M.D., of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And what about skipping out on Aunt Mildred’s birthday party? You should stay home if you feel sick, but Jamieson doesn’t recommend otherwise altering your daily activities to any great extent. “You can still ride the subway and go to family events,” she says. You may, however, want to steer clear of any unnecessary mass gatherings.
For more information, including breaking news and updates, visit flu.gov.
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