Savannah doctor encourages pregnant women to the get the flu vaccine

Published: Jan. 6, 2023 at 2:18 PM EST
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - As flu season continues across the country, some people have a higher risk of going to the hospital than others.

A Savannah doctor is encouraging pregnant women to get the flu vaccine to avoid suffering the worst effects of the disease.

The OB/GYN office at Candler Hospital has been busy as several pregnant women are catching the flu every week and doctors say that could be dangerous for them and their baby.

“People come in with just respiratory complaints, body aches, chills and they’ve been diagnosed with the flu. Sometimes patients have been diagnosed with both COVID and the flu,” Dr. Andres Montes said.

Dr. Montes said it’s typically viral pneumonia that causes pregnant women with the flu to be hospitalized. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, last year as of Dec. 24, 43 percent of women in the hospital with the flu were expecting a child.

Dr. Montes said most cases he’s seen this flu season haven’t been this severe but warns pregnant women to go to the emergency room if you have a high fever, bad muscle aches and trouble breathing.

“Thankfully in our practice we haven’t had many hospitalized patients for viral pneumonia as of now, but the key is catching it early. There’s great medication out there like Tamiflu that if someone has been exposed to the flu that is pregnant, they need to call their doctor right away so we can start them on a prophylactic dose or if someone is within 48 hours of getting diagnosed with the flu they can start taking this medication and it has been shown to decrease mortality and help speed up recovery,” Dr. Montes said.

The CDC also shows 10 percent fewer pregnant people are vaccinated against the flu now than at this time last year. Dr. Montes says the best way to protect yourself and your growing little one is to get the flu shot.