Friday, October 2, 2009
Historical one of the highest risks groups in a pandemic are pregnant women, and women who have recently given birth. Unfortunately this H1N1 pandemic is no exception. During a news briefing Thursday, U.S. health officials said the virus has hit pregnant women especially hard. Nearly 1 in 3 pregnant women hospitalized with H1N2 have died in the U. S.
Tom Skinner of the Centers for Disease control said that “Since the virus was first recognized in late April, early May, 100 pregnant women across the country have been hospitalized due to the novel H1N1 flu and 28 have died,”
There are two basic reasons for this. Pregnant woman have an immune system that is slow- it’s like their immune system is on standby – and it’s not as reactive as a non-pregnant person’s,” Dr. MannyAlvarez said. “And because of that, viruses, especially flu viruses of any sort can create a very severe infection.” The second challenge women face is as the baby grows inside the womb, the anatomy of a woman’s chest changes. “Their whole respiratory volume changes,” Alvarez said. “So if they get a secondary infection, such as pneumonia after the flu, it makes it very challenging and problematic for doctors to get airflow back into the lungs.”
“Just yesterday, a patient informed me that her son had the flu, so we immediately began administering antiviral medications, until the new vaccine becomes available.” Unlike other patients, pregnant women cannot get the nasal spray FluMist, Skinner said. “They must get the injectable vaccine, which will hopefully be available starting next week,” he added.
Folks, I hope that you will all get vaccinated, especially pregnant women. Historically the first wave of a pandemic is mild. It's the second wave that starts to show some teeth. We are only in the very beginning of the second wave so we are not sure how bad this flu can get.