The weather is turning colder and the days of sniffling and sneezing are upon us.  And while a cold isn’t something to be afraid of, it’s the other winter bugs that can have a serious impact on your health—and they flourish as we spend more time indoors and in close contact with others.  This is especially important for you if you are pregnant or have medical conditions that could make you more likely to contract one of these illnesses and being vaccinated against them protects you, your unborn baby and others around you as well.  Starting in October you can expect to see an increase in

  • Flu
  • Pneumonia
  • Common Cold and
  • Pertussis (also known as whooping cough)

If you are pregnant, some vaccines can be given at any time during the pregnancy—these vaccines can actually help boost your baby’s defenses after birth and help fight infection until your little one begins vaccines of their own.  Others will need to be given before you get pregnant or after you deliver. Here’s a breakdown of some of the most common vaccines.

FLU

When to take it: Before, during or after pregnancy

How it’s given: Into the muscle of the arm (usually)

Side effects: Some people may have some soreness in the muscle.  The injection is not made from a live virus, so there’s no risk that you will get the flu from the vaccine. New flu vaccine mixes carry protection from regular seasonal flu and H1N1.

Extra thought: Pregnant women should NOT take the live flu vaccine.  Live vaccine is given in the mist that is squirted up your nose, but the injection is safe.

PERTUSSIS (WHOOPING COUGH)

When to take it: Ideally, you should get this vaccine before you get pregnant, but it is safe to take after 20 weeks gestation.  The pertussis vaccine will come in a combination known as Tdap, which also gives you protection from tetanus, diptheria and pertussis.  This vaccine is recommended for pregnant women by the Centers for Disease Control.

How it’s given: Into the muscle of the arm.

Side effects: Soreness at the injection site is common.

Other vaccines that may be considered for you will depend on your specific condition, if you have been exposed to a known germ and other factors.  Certainly, some vaccines like the MMR and Varicella should be delayed until after birth because they are live virus vaccines.

Dr. Hessel will be able to tell you more about what vaccines are right for you and when you should take them.  Call her office today and make an appointment to find out more.

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