HUMAN SWINE FLU WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW IF I AM PREGNANT

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					                                                 HUMAN SWINE FLU

                       ADVICE FOR WOMEN WHO ARE PREGNANT OR BREASTFEEDING

                                 WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW IF I AM PREGNANT?

The Human Swine Influenza virus [Pandemic (H1N1 2009] is a new and different strain of flu that is infecting people
and spreading from person to person in the same way seasonal influenza and other common respiratory infections
spread.

Why are pregnant women at greater risk of Human Swine Flu?

While pregnant women do not appear to have a higher risk of contracting human swine flu, they do have an increased
risk of complications (including pneumonia and early labour) from this and any type of influenza, especially in the
second and third trimester. This may be due to pregnancy altering body defences which makes it harder to fight new
illness and easier for bacteria to invade cells causing conditions such as pneumonia. It is also because as the
pregnancy progresses, it places an increasing stress on the heart and lungs of the pregnant woman, so there is less
reserve to cope with an infection affecting the lungs and airways. These complications can affect both the mother and
the unborn baby.

What are the symptoms of Human Swine Flu?

The symptoms of human swine flu are similar to those of seasonal influenza including fever and any one of the
following:
•   cough
•   sore throat

Some people have also reported diarrhoea and vomiting.

What can I do to protect myself and my unborn baby from flu?

It is recommended that pregnant women see their doctor about getting vaccinated against normal seasonal flu. This
recommendation applies for all stages of pregnancy especially if there are other medical conditions.

Though the current seasonal flu vaccine does not protect against human swine flu, it is important to avoid all types of
influenza during pregnancy. Due to increased risk of contact with the virus during the current outbreak of human
swine flu, it is recommended that pregnant women reconsider attending places where there are large gatherings of
people.

It is also recommended that pregnant women consider staying away from people with flu symptoms and are
particularly diligent with the following measures:

•   wash hands frequently with soap and water or use an alcohol based hand gel
•   wash hands prior to touching your eyes, nose and mouth
•   when coughing or sneezing, cover your mouth and nose with disposable tissues and dispose of the tissues
    immediately
•   don’t share items such as cigarettes, glasses or cups, lipstick, toys or anything which could be contaminated with
    respiratory secretions
•   maintain at least one metre distance from people who have flu symptoms such as coughing or sneezing
•   stay home when sick




Page 1 of 3                                                                       State Health Emergency Coordination Centre
Date: 24 August 2009                                                                          Registered Document No: CH002887
                                                                     Authorised by Dr Jill Newland, State Health Incident Controller
                              80% of common infectious diseases are spread by hand.
                            Washing your hands regularly can significantly reduce your risk
                                                  of catching flu.

What should I do if I am pregnant and develop flu symptoms?

If you are pregnant and develop flu symptoms, you should seek immediate medical advice – preferably from your GP
but if you cannot see your GP within one or two days a hospital emergency department – so that you can be
assessed.

The doctor may take a throat or nose swab for pathology testing and prescribe antiviral medication and may also
suggest other measures such as rest, fluids and analgesics.

If I am pregnant and I am diagnosed with Human Swine Flu, can I take antiviral medication?

Antiviral drugs are a class of medication used specifically for treating influenza. While it seems that antiviral
medication has no serious side effects, a doctor will discuss benefits and potential risks with you. During the current
outbreak of human swine flu, it is considered that the benefits of taking antiviral medications in pregnancy are greater
than the potential risk of developing side effects. This is particularly true during the last two thirds of the pregnancy.
Anyone experiencing side effects to antiviral drugs should contact their doctor as soon as possible.

As a fever can affect the growing foetus, it is recommended that pregnant women take paracetamol if they develop a
fever. Consult with your doctor.

Will pregnant women get preference when a vaccine becomes available?

People in vulnerable groups such as pregnant women are strongly urged to be vaccinated, but the vaccine is available to all
people who wish to be protected from human swine influenza.

                              WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW IF I AM BREASTFEEDING?

Should I stop breastfeeding if I think I have flu?

No, mothers make antibodies to fight diseases they come in contact with, so their milk is custom-made to fight the
diseases their babies are exposed to as well. This is really important in young babies when their immune system is
still developing. Ideally babies should be fully breastfed for the first 6 months of life.




Page 2 of 3                                                                         State Health Emergency Coordination Centre
Date: 24 August 2009                                                                            Registered Document No: CH002887
                                                                       Authorised by Dr Jill Newland, State Health Incident Controller
Breastfeeding helps the baby to develop their own ability to fight off diseases. If you are too sick to breastfeed,
express if possible and have someone else give the expressed milk to your baby.

Is it safe to breastfeed if I am sick with flu?

Whether you have normal seasonal flu or human swine flu, you can continue to breastfeed your baby.

If your doctor thinks you have the flu, here are some suggestions to keep your baby as safe as possible from
infection, while you are infectious:

•   if your baby is under 3 months of age, ask your doctor about antiviral medication to reduce the chance you will
    pass the infection on to your baby
•   sleep at least 1 metre apart from your baby and in separate beds (it is ok to sleep in the same room as your baby)
•   wear a surgical mask when breastfeeding, bathing, caring for, cuddling, or whenever you are within 1 metre of
    your baby
•   wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water before touching your baby
•   try not to cough or sneeze near your baby
•   ask anyone else who cares for your baby to wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water before touching
    your baby and to not cough or sneeze near your baby

Can I take antiviral medication while breastfeeding?

It is considered safe to take antivirals while breastfeeding. Talk to your doctor about whether or not you should take
antiviral medication.

Is it OK to breastfeed if my baby is sick?

Yes, one of the best things you can do for your baby when they are sick is to keep breastfeeding. Breast milk helps to
                   s
develop your baby' immune system.

Give your sick baby extra breastfeeds if you can. Babies who are sick need more fluids than when they are well. You
might need to rest a little more and ensure that you look after yourself by eating well and drinking enough fluids.

If your baby is too sick to breastfeed, ask your doctor, midwife, child and family health nurse or the Australian
Breastfeeding Association for advice about how to keep giving your baby breast milk safely.

Consult your doctor if your baby is having trouble feeding.


                            For further information, call 13HEALTH on 13432584 or
      visit the Queensland Health Human Swine Influenza website: http://www.health.qld.gov.au/swineflu/




Page 3 of 3                                                                         State Health Emergency Coordination Centre
Date: 24 August 2009                                                                            Registered Document No: CH002887
                                                                       Authorised by Dr Jill Newland, State Health Incident Controller

				
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