Women who are pregnant arguably need the flu shot more than anyone else, says Kecia Gaither, MD, a double board-certified OB/GYN. "In a pregnant woman, the immune system downgrades, and changes to lung function predispose them to getting the flu," she says. "But when mothers receive the flu shot, they pass some of that immunity to the baby via the placenta, thus helping to provide immunity to the baby for the first few months of life."
The CDC's case for vaccination is compelling. Pregnant women are more than twice as likely to be hospitalized if they contract the flu during pregnancy as compared to women who are not pregnant. "Since 2010, among women ages 15 to 44 years who were hospitalized for influenza, 24 percent to 34 percent of them were pregnant—even though only approximately 9 percent of U.S. women in this age group are pregnant at any given time each year," says the CDC.
Here's what you need to know about the universal flu vaccine, and how to consume the utmost vitamin C this cold season.
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