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Protecting Yourself against Cold and Flu During Fertility Treatment and Pregnancy
January 10, 2013
Cold and flu season is upon us and the peak month, February, is right around the corner. If you’re trying to get pregnant, or are already pregnant, you are at greater risk of catching a virus. Infertility leads to stress, which ultimately compromises the immune system. Once a woman gets pregnant, her immune system slows down- a good biological mechanism for preventing miscarriage, but not so good when it comes to colds and the flu.
Pregnant women with the flu are susceptible to more severe symptoms. They are also prone to hospitalizations and pregnancy problems, including preterm labor. Following healthy habits will prevent the spread of viruses and reduce the risk of complications.
Ways to Prevent against Cold and Flu
- Stay far away from anyone who is sick. It's nothing personal. You just want to be smart about being in close contact and spreading germs.
- Take a sick day. Even the most dedicated of employees should take a sick day if they are truly under the weather. It is best to allow yourself time to recover than to contaminate shared work environments and getting others sick.
- Clean shared work stations. Use antibacterial wipes or sanitizing spray to clean shared phones, computers, and other office equipment.
- Wash your hands. Using warm water and soap, scrub your hands for a minimum of 20 seconds before rinsing. An alcohol-based hand sanitizer is an acceptable substitute if soap and water are not available.
- Cover your mouth. Encourage others to cover their cough or sneeze with their sleeve or a tissue; practice those same habits if you do become ill.
- Keep your hands away from your face. Touching your eyes, nose, or mouth will only spread germs.
- Eat, sleep, drink. Eat healthy foods, get plenty of sleep, and drink lots of water to boost your immune system and prevent illness. Be mindful of your stress level and maintain an active lifestyle for overall good health. Your diet, water intake, and sleep are important to optimize your fertility as well.
What You Need to Know About the Influenza Vaccine
The CDC advises that the influenza vaccination is the best course of action for avoiding the flu for any person over the age of six months. Especially in young children, the elderly, the immuno-compromised, and women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, vaccinating against the flu is recommended. Flu shots are considered safe during pregnancy. Not only will the flu shot protect a pregnant woman, but will also pass some of that protection onto the baby.
Talk to your fertility doctor about the influenza vaccine and take the appropriate steps to stay healthy during cold and flu season. For more information about vaccinations during infertility treatment and pregnancy, reference Fertility Authority’s guide to ASRM vaccination recommendations for infertility patients and pregnant women.