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Pregnancy & H1N1 Facts for Healthcare Workers

May 15, 2013- The populaDMC Detroit Receiving Hospital - The popular River Walkers Program grows with participants and sponsors

The popular River Walkers program is back!  This club for seniors age 60 and older has experienced tremendous growth since 2008.  For the past two summers nearly 1000 River Walkers have come from Warren, Grosse Pointe Park, Waterford, Bloomfield Hills, Dearborn, Northville, Novi, Romulus, and Huntington Woods, Farmington Hills, and many other locations, near and far.  They come at the urging of their loved ones, to take up the exercise program their doctor has encouraged them to start or for the social aspects.  They look forward to seeing each other and staying healthy while celebrating the great weather and the view along the Riverfront.


It is a beautiful place to walk,” notes Detroiter Gwendolyn Simmons, 76.  “The main thing I really like is the connection to people like me who care about their health, who greet others and are socially and mentally active.”


On Tuesdays and Thursdays from June 4 to August 29, 2013 walkers will assemble at Rivard Park just east of the Renaissance Center where parking is free.  From 9:00 a.m. until 10:00 a.m. walkers have an opportunity to stride along the river front. Some walkers take advantage of the time by speaking with DMC Detroit Receiving’s medical experts regarding any health concerns. Most make it a point to be back by 10:00 a.m. for the fun fitness activities, the screenings, and other health and wellness offerings from DMC Detroit Receiving Hospital.  Doctors from the DMC Rosa Parks Geriatric Center of Excellence often provide screenings or talk informally about subjects like nutrition, cardiovascular disease, memory loss, skin care, and common medication issues.


Frank Brady, 64, a GM retiree from Grosse Pointe City, started with RiverWalkers last year to supplement his visits to the gym.  The incentive for going is just being with the people down there and getting a beautiful view of the river,” he says.  What Detroit Receiving is doing is superb.  They have excellent people there and put on a good program.”


The Riverfront Conservancy has partnered with Receiving from the beginning, providing the RiverWalk path, tables, chairs, and audio system.  Walkers receive a club t-shirt and a pedometer when they join.  By registering when they arrive, their attendance is tracked.  Those who walk three or more times per month get a gift at the end of the month from Detroit Receiving.  Walkers must be at least 60 years old to walk.  They are encouraged to obtain a physician’s physical exam before starting.


Bobbie Latham, 70, of Eastpointe, was talked into it by her sister.  She has a rare lung disease.  When she started, it was just for short distances.  By the end of the season, she could go up the stairs at her home without being out of breath and had lost inches around her waist.  “I look forward to going every time,” she said.


Sam’s Club and Meijer are joining DMC Detroit Receiving Hospital and The Riverfront Conservancy in support of the 2013 River Walkers program.   Sams Club will be donating $10,000 worth of food and beverages.  Meanwhile, Meijer has contributed a $5,000 sponsorship, which will offset the cost of gifts given to the walkers throughout the summer. These contributions are opportune because of adjustments in hospital budgets and the expansion of the program.  Based on the amount of pre registered walkers, Receiving Hospital estimates close to 1,200 seniors participating in the River Walkers program this summer.  


“Receiving Hospital is proud to offer this very popular program for the sixth year to the seniors in the greater Detroit area,” commented Iris Taylor, PhD, RN, president, DMC Detroit Receiving Hospital.  We are also happy to be partnering with the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy, Sam’s Club and Meijer.”  


When the weather looks threatening, the session will be canceled.  RiverWalkers can call (313) 966-2690 after 8:30 a.m. to find out if the program will be canceled that day due to weather.


To schedule an appointment for a comprehensive senior medical examinations at Receiving’s Rosa Parks Geriatric Center call (888) 264-0102.

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.

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.

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.

Yes, the symptoms of flu will be the same as in women who are not pregnant.

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.


  • 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.

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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