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Pregnancy & H1N1 Facts for Healthcare Workers


January 24, 2013- Don’t let the winter blues get you down
DETROIT – Each winter, many people experience a degree of depression or loneliness, commonly referred to as the winter blues, but in its more serious state it's medically known Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Symptoms of SAD can include feeling a sense of hopelessness, increased appetite and weight gain, increased sleep, a lack of energy and an inability to concentrate. Although there is no official test for SAD, a doctor can diagnose the disorder through the symptoms the patient has experienced. Experiencing these symptoms isn't uncommon during the winter months, and it’s actually in our nature historically to respond to the season in such a way. “Most of us think that it's normal to get down during the winter months because the days are short, dreary and cold, but there is a biological reason for these feelings,” said Gerald A. Shiener, M.D., Chief Consultation Liaison of Psychiatry at DMC Sinai-Grace Hospital. “Our genetic ancestors used to gain weight and hibernate during winter months. For some of us, those biological urges persist.” The good news is there are steps one can take during the winter months to help minimize or even prevent feeling the winter blues. “The best way to deal with seasonal mood disorders is to manage our lifestyle and take better care of ourselves,” Shiener said. “Regular bedtime and wake-up times are important. A low carbohydrate, high-protein diet, exercise and physical activity can enhance energy levels and sense of well being.” If you suspect a loved one is suffering from SAD, there are many ways to help. Encourage them to be active, invite them to social gatherings, and offer assistance with daily tasks. If you have a serious concern, enourage them to see a doctor. To book an appointment with a Sinai-Grace physician, call (313) 966-4800.


WHAT IS H1N1 INFLUENZA?
H1N1 influenza is a respiratory disease that is caused by a type A influenza virus. The current H1N1 virus contains unique genes from pig and human influenza viruses and hence is called the “Novel H1N1 Influenza Virus”. This strain of flu germ spreads from human to human and can cause illness.



Does H1N1 INFLUENZA pose special risks for pregnant women?
Pregnant women are at an increased risk of catching H1N1 or seasonal flu. Pregnant patients with H1N1 infection have an increased risk of complications. Although influenza viruses do not infect the baby while in the uterus, the high fever and any complications caused by the flu can potentially be harmful to the baby.



WHAT PRECAUTIONS CAN I TAKE TO PROTECT MYSELF AND MY UNBORN BABY?
The best way to protect yourself and your unborn baby is to have a vaccination (which is safe during pregnancy). You should also make sure you follow good hygiene practices including:

 

  • Wash your hands often with soap and warm water. Alcohol-based gel hand cleaners are also good to use.
  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
  • Talk to your doctor about your concerns.

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF H1N1 INFLUENZA?
The symptoms of H1N1 flu are similar to the symptoms of seasonal flu and may include acute onset of:

  • Fever (greater than 100 F or 37.8 C)
  • Cough
  • Sore Throat
  • Stuffy nose
  • Chills
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Some people have reported diarrhea and vomiting associated with H1N1 flu.


WILL THE SYMPTOMS BE THE SAME IF I AM PREGNANT?
Yes, the symptoms of flu will be the same as in women who are not pregnant.




WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I GET SICK?
If you get sick with flu-like symptoms, stay home, limit contact with others, and call your doctor as soon as possible.

  • Treat any fever right away. Tylenol® (acetaminophen) is the best treatment of fever in pregnancy.
  • Get plenty of rest and drink clear fluids.
  • Your doctor may test you for flu or will decide if you need medications to treat the flu.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash and cleanse your hands.
  • Clean hands often with soap and water or alcohol- based hand rub.
  • Do not go to work, school, or other public places while you are ill.
  • Avoid close contact with other people.
  • Get emergency medical care right away if you have trouble breathing, chest pain, purple or blue lips or skin, severe vomiting and are dehydrated and/or dizzy, unresponsive or confused.


IS IT OK TO BREAST FEED MY BABY IF I AM SICK?

  • Do not stop breastfeeding if you are ill. This will help protect your baby from infection.
  • Be careful not to cough or sneeze in the baby’s face, wash your hands often.
  • Your doctor might ask you to wear a mask to keep from spreading this new virus to your baby.
  • If you are too sick to breastfeed, pump and have someone give the expressed milk to your baby.


IS THERE A VACCINE FOR H1N1 INFLUENZA?
Yes, an H1N1 virus vaccine is expected to be available in mid- to late October 2009. The CDC recommends this vaccine for pregnant women when it first becomes available. This vaccine has been tested in pregnant women and found to be safe and effective.


REMEMBER: The seasonal flu vaccine is not expected to protect against the H1N1 flu, therefore individuals are encouraged to get both types of vaccines.

 

 

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