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Pregnancy & H1N1 Facts for Healthcare Workers


February 10, 2014- Health Care Enrollee Gets the Surprise of Her Life
When Stephanie Jenkins decided to take advantage of a DMC-sponsored assistance program designed to help uninsured Detroit-area citizens apply for affordable health insurance passed into law by President Obama, this hard-working Detroiter got “a wonderful surprise.”

It happened on a Saturday afternoon in early January – after Jenkins dropped by her neighborhood Second Ebenezer Church in order to participate in a “Bridging the Gaps” outreach program aimed at helping local residents to better care for family members and loved ones with chronic health conditions.

Co-sponsored by the church and the DMC’s free-of-charge “Path to Health” affordable health insurance-enrollment assistance service, the community initiative linked dozens of Detroiters in search of health coverage under the new Affordable Care Act with a team of Certified Application Counselors. With the help of the Counselors and lots of educational materials supplied by Path to Health, many of the Ebenezer attendees were delighted to see how quickly – and how easily – their applications for the new healthcare coverage could be successfully completed.

For the determined Jenkins, who hadn’t been able to obtain health insurance before the Ebenezer event, the process was uncomplicated . . . and also “very easy on my pocketbook”.

“When they put my data into the computer ad added everything up, they told me that the total cost of healthcare coverage for me and my family would be 11 cents a month,” said the amazed Jenkins. “I couldn’t believe my eyes and I nearly panicked. I thought, something has to be wrong!

“But it wasn’t. I now have very good health insurance coverage . . . for the grand total of 11 cents a month. As I understand it, this is why this new law was created – to help people find an accessible and affordable solution to health care.”

For DMC CEO Joe Mullany, meanwhile, the positive outcome experienced by Stephanie Jenkins at the Ebenezer/Path to Life event is a “great example of how the DMC is helping people all across Southeast Michigan to successfully enroll in Obamacare. Open enrollment is now fully underway,” noted Mullany, and thousands of Michiganders have been signing up for it in recent months.

“At the DMC, we’re very pleased to know that our Path to Life assistance program is helping to educate – and also enroll – patients who need health insurance by providing them with educational materials and personal assistance wherever possible.”

To learn more about DMC Path to Life and how you can use it to obtain low-cost health insurance, just click on http://www.dmc.org/pathtohealth, or call 888-362-2500.


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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