Pregnancy and H1N1: Protecting Yourself & Baby-to-Be
Get the Flu Vaccine
H1N1 is especially dangerous for pregnant women. Experts don't believe that this virus is any less dangerous this year. Although pregnant women represent only 1 percent of the population, they accounted for 5 percent of the deaths from H1N1 last year. Pregnant women who get H1N1 are also at higher risk for fetal distress, premature delivery, and emergency c-sections.
Eat Well and Exercise
It's more important than ever to make sure you are eating healthy, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep. These everyday activities will help your body be ready to fight off germs and illness should you contract H1N1 or another virus. "Your body is working overtime to grow a healthy little baby inside you, and you want to do all you can to prevent infection and illness," says Dr. Greene. "This is the most important time to be taking regular precautions -- eating right, exercising, and visiting your doctor regularly -- to keep yourself healthy."
Wash Away Germs
Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially before meals and after using the restroom. If you do not have consistent access to soap and water, carry an alcohol-based hand rub with you and use it frequently. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
Avoid Close Contact With Infected People
Your top priority should be to protect yourself from unnecessary contact with infected individuals to keep yourself healthy. Avoiding busy public places as much as possible is also a good idea to minimize your exposure to individuals who may be infected with H1N1 or another strain of the flu.
Symptoms to Watch Out For
Talk to your doctor if you are experiencing any of these symptoms of H1N1:
* Cough or sore throat
* Vomiting or diarrhea
* Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
* Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
* Sudden dizziness
Warning Signs to Be Aware Of
Be sure to seek out emergency care if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms:
* Difficulty breathing or chest pain
* Purple or blue discoloration of the lips
* Severe or persistent vomiting and/or inability to keep liquids down
* Signs of dehydration such as dizziness when standing or absence of urination
* Seizures (for example, uncontrolled convulsions)
* Feeling or acting less responsive than normal or feeling/acting confused
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