Flu season is here, doctors urge the community to get vaccinated

Australia has just emerged from a flu season that started earlier than usual and was more severe than expected.							John Mahoney  Montreal Gazette

Additionally, only approximately 75% of pregnant women reported having received a recommendation from their physician to get the 2 vaccines, indicating an important role for health care providers in counseling patients on immunizations, the article reported.

This includes healthcare workers, as well people aged over 65s, those with long-term health conditions and pregnant women. In addition, the CDC points out that women who have recently given birth are at much higher risk of contracting both illnesses, often resulting in hospitalization.

According to the CDC, it's estimated that between about 70 percent and 90 percent of seasonal flu-related deaths have occurred in people 65 years and older and between 50 percent and 70 percent of seasonal flu-related hospitalizations have occurred among people in that age group. "The best way to protect yourself from the flu is to get the influenza vaccine, practice good hand washing, and staying home when sick".

Among the 2,626 women who completed the survey (including 2,097 who were pregnant during flu season), 54% reported that they received the flu shot, and 55% said they received the Tdap vaccine during pregnancy. They should "offer flu and Tdap vaccines to pregnant women, or provide referrals to other vaccination providers", and "reinforce that vaccination is the best way to protect young babies from influenza and whooping cough".

Flu and whooping cough are not fatal to most healthy adults but kills children under five in the United States every year.

The Public Health Agency of Canada is hoping to have 90 per cent of the "flu shot" supply available by the end of the month. It included questions about whether the women's health care providers recommended the vaccines and whether the women agreed to get vaccinated.

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Remember, newborns, the elderly and pregnant women are at an increased risk for the flu and flu complications.

About 20 babies have died of whooping cough each year in the USA since 2010. But it is never too late to get vaccinated even in January.

The two vaccines are imperative to the health of the mother and her child, as women who are vaccinated develop antibodies against both diseases.

Flu vaccines are available at doctors' offices, pharmacies, local walk-in clinics and grocery stores. Many of these women thought that the vaccine was ineffective or unnecessary.

If they do, their babies are 78% less likely to catch whooping cough in the first two months of life, and 91 percent less likely to be hospitalized for the infection. However one in three of these women did not get the shots, the survey found.

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