SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO)– Flu season is here and that has many heading in to get their flu vaccine.
Experts say for moms-to-be it’s even more important to be protected against the influenza virus.
Andrea Preszler is getting ready to welcome her first child to the world in just a few months.
“Just having him here. Like I just love holding babies, and I’m just excited to hold my own finally,” Preszler said.
As she waits for her son’s arrival, she also says she’s doing what she can to make sure he arrives healthy– and stays that way by getting her flu vaccine.
“Just the protection that I will give him through me and then just being able to protect him once he’s actually here from getting the flu because it’s a scary thing for newborns,” Preszler said.
Dr. Abrea Roark says women are immunosuppressed during pregnancy, which means they’re more susceptible to getting sick.
“So it’s not a perfect vaccine, but it definitely, since they’re more at risk for getting influenza anyways, it decreases their odds that they’re going to get a severe infection,” Roark said.
Roark says she’s seen pregnant women admitted to the ICU due to influenza, but it’s not just the mom-to-be suffering the effects.
“Increased risk of prematurety or preterm birth. If moms, and usually it’s upper respiratory symptoms, so if mom’s not oxygenating well, then potentially baby is not and we’re not oxygenating baby very well,” Roark said.
Doctors say the earlier in the season you get the vaccine the better.
Preszler is due in February, which is when Roark says flu season is typically at it’s peak.
“The sooner we can get those women vaccinated, especially women who are going to deliver during prime flu season, the longer their body has the time to develop antibodies to protect that baby, because those babies aren’t going to be able to get their vaccine until they’re 6 months old,” Roark said.
Preszler says she’s been getting the flu vaccine for as long as she can remember and hasn’t experienced any negative side effects.
She hopes others will consider doing the same.
“Just do it, because it’s not just about you it’s about other people around you,” Preszler said.
To see locations of walk-in flu vaccinations with Sanford Health, click here.