The regular programming on this blog is being interrupted today to provide important information. Tomorrow, the normal programming will return filled with all its typical pertinence and irreverence (underwear, midlife crises, camping, swearing, B.O.B., girlfriends, food groups, pantyhose friction, children, cougars, and so on…).
Today, I want to share an article that one of my Ready Campus Initiative team members (Alex) forwarded on to me that is indeed sobering. The article summarizes a news briefing about H1N1 and pregnant women. Pregnant women are at an increased danger from H1N1. Pregnant women are not only disproportionately being hospitalized from this virus, they are also disproportionately dying.
Pregnancy is a magical time (yes, I said magical – disregard the morning sickness, backaches, popped out bellybutton, waddle and ankles that look like tree trunks for the time being). Much hope and joy is tied up in the expectation of a new life. However, being pregnant does strain a woman’s body and with more and more pregnant women in the workplace the pairing of strain and exposure can be deadly.
Please forward the short blip below on to all the pregnant women you know. Also, forward this on to spouses and family members of pregnant women so that they can appreciate the importance of being vigilant in regard to their ability to spread germs to the pregnant member of their family. For more information see http://www.flu.gov/individualfamily/parents/pregnant/.
CDC: 28 Pregnant Women Dead From H1N1
Friday, October 02, 2009
By Karlie Pouliot
A stark reminder about how deadly the new H1N1 virus can be. During a news briefing Thursday, U.S. health officials said the virus has hit pregnant women especially hard.
Since it first surfaced in April, 28 pregnant women with H1N1 have died. One hundred expectant mothers have been hospitalized.
Dr. Anne Schuchat, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the CDC said these numbers “are really upsetting” and urged pregnant women to get the seasonal flu vaccine and the H1N1 vaccine.
“I just want to remind women and doctors and nurse midwives that antiviral medicine can be a very important treatment for pregnant women who have respiratory illness,” Schuchat said at the briefing.
Dr. Manny Alvarez, head of maternal fetal medicine at Hackensack University Medical Center in Hackensack, N.J., and managing editor of health at FOXNews.com, said there are two fundamental risk factors that pregnant women face when they get the flu.
“First, pregnant woman have an immune system that is slow – it’s like their immune system is on standby – and it’s not as reactive as a non-pregnant person’s,” Alvarez said. “And because of that, viruses, especially flu viruses of any sort can create a very severe infection.”
The second challenge women face is as the baby grows inside the womb, the anatomy of a woman’s chest changes.
“Their whole respiratory volume changes,” Alvarez said. “So if they get a secondary infection, such as pneumonia after the flu, it makes it very challenging and problematic for doctors to get airflow back into the lungs.”
Until now, the CDC has never really looked closely at influenza in pregnant women.
“It’s hard to say if what we’re seeing now is out of the ordinary compared to the how pregnant women have been affected by the seasonal flu,” said Tom Skinner, CDC spokesman. “But what we are hearing from physicians around the country is that they’ve never seen pregnant women impacted like this by the flu… and so we’re going to have to some more research to understand if this is a unique situation to this new virus.”
Alvarez, who treats high-risk pregnancy patients, said at this time he’s making sure all of his patients know about the dangers of the flu.
“Just yesterday, a patient informed me that her son had the flu, so we immediately began administering antiviral medications, until the new vaccine becomes available.”
Unlike other patients, pregnant women cannot get the nasal spray FluMist, Skinner said.
“They must get the injectable vaccine, which will hopefully be available starting next week,” he added.
Take good care…let’s get through this health crisis wiser and not too much worse for the wear.
Day ninety of the new forty – obla di obla da