Mums-to-be are now included among the groups who are advised to get the flu shot and new research provides insights into why.
Pregnant women appear to have an unusually strong immune response to the flu. And this strong immune response may help explain why they get sicker from the flu than other healthy adults.
The reason: many symptoms of flu are the result of the immune system responding to the virus, the researchers said.
This finding was unexpected because it's generally believed that pregnancy weakens the immune system to keep it from attacking the unborn baby, say researchers in Stanford University School of Medicine.
The Health Service Executive here says that pregnant women should get the seasonal flu vaccination to protect themselves and their baby. The shot can be given at any stage of pregnancy and will also protect the baby. In the US, the flu vaccine has been routinely recommended for all pregnant women for many years. The annual flu vaccine does not contain aluminium (adjuvant) or thiomersal (a mercury based preservative). There are no safety concerns when it comes to administering the seasonal flu vaccine.
Seasonal flu vaccines have been given for more than 60 years to millions of people across the world. Reactions are generally mild and serious side effects are very rare.
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