Autumn and winter: seasons of flu (and this year we also worry about a possible new wave of Covid-19). While we await an effective and safe vaccine against Sars-Cov-2, fortunately we have for some time been vaccinating against the flu, the most effective strategy to defend against this disease. But what should pregnant women do? Is the vaccine good for them too or is it better to avoid?
Yes to the vaccine, even in pregnancy!
According to national and international health authorities there is no doubt: even for pregnant women getting vaccinated is better for both mom and baby. Since last year - and as has been happening for some time in other countries in Europe and in the world - the Ministry of Health recommends vaccination for all women who are pregnant at the beginning of the flu season. The concept is reaffirmed in the circular on "Influenza prevention and control: recommendations for the 2022-2022 season".
The flu vaccine and Covid-19
According to the Ministry of Health, the flu shot will be even more important than usual in the coming months. Not just to prevent cases of influenza and reduce complications from influenza in people at risk (including pregnant women), but also to simplify the diagnosis and management of suspected cases, given i similar symptoms between Covid-19 and flu. This should also reduce access to emergency rooms. In other words: the flu vaccine does not protect against Sars-Cov-2, but it could help to identify cases of Covid-19 more easily (in the presence of flu symptoms even after vaccination)
The risks of the flu
In the vast majority of cases, the flu is annoying - or even very annoying - but it doesn't involve any particular complications. Sometimes, however, it can worsen and become dangerous. For pregnant women this is especially true, because in this delicate moment of life the immune system is a little weaker than usual, which makes the mother more susceptible to infections and complications. And the risks do not concern only the woman, but also the child.
On the maternal side, the main complications are those of the respiratory type, in particular the pneumonia. The flu, too, could carry with it other infections (up to the fearful sepsis) and the possibility of dehydration. Sometimes, these conditions are so severe that they require hospitalization, even in intensive care. And unfortunately the situation can further precipitate, as also shown by the data from the Obstetric Surveillance System of the Higher Institute of Health, which in the two-year period 2022-2022 recorded five cases of (unvaccinated) pregnant women who died from flu.
Even for the fetus, however, maternal flu can cause some problems: if the mother becomes seriously ill, the risks of preterm birth, growth retardation and even death in utero increase.
There aren't many strategies to avoid getting the flu when it's shooting. The only really valid one is vaccination, which reduces the risk of contracting the disease and ensures that those who get sick anyway go into lighter forms. In Del Paese, however, there are still few pregnant women who decide to get vaccinated.
The concern is that the vaccine could cause problems for the fetus. In this regard, an editorial published in 2022 in the Lancet magazine recalls the safety of the flu vaccine given in pregnancy compared to the fetusData collected so far have not shown an increase in adverse effects in fetuses and children. On the other hand, vaccinated women - their children - run less risk of complications.
And again: the results of a very large and very recent study - published last September 2 in the Annals of Internal Medicine - reiterate for the umpteenth time that there is no association between influenza vaccination in pregnancy and the risk of developing spectrum disorders autistic in children.10 PHOTOS
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Not surprisingly, for health authorities, starting with the World Health Organization, there are no doubts: the flu vaccine in pregnancy is strongly recommended.
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