Women who are pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant, should talk to their doctor about getting a flu shot. A flu shot not only helps protect a woman from getting influenza during pregnancy, it also provides important protection for her newborn.
Pregnant women can get vaccinated for the flu during any trimester of their pregnancy, according to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Multiple published studies, as well as clinical experience, support the belief that the flu vaccine is safe and effective during pregnancy, according to ACOG.
Many people die from flu complications every year. Pregnant women are particularly vulnerable to serious illness from the flu because of changes that occur during pregnancy to their immune system, heart, and lungs.
Not only does the flu shot protect a pregnant woman, it also helps protect her baby from influenza. Antibodies from a mother pass during pregnancy to her developing baby, providing protection that can last the first several months of life.
According to the CDC, the most common side effects experienced by pregnant women are the same as those for other people. The following possible symptoms are generally mild and last only one to two days:
Soreness, redness, and/or swelling from the shot
Although some people may be concerned about a recent study that showed women in early pregnancy who received two consecutive annual flu shots during 2010-11 and 2011-12 had an increased risk of miscarriage in the 28 days after receiving the second vaccine, health authorities say there isn’t enough evidence to change their flu recommendations for pregnant women.
The study is questionable based on its small size and other factors, health officials say. For example, it’s possible that the miscarriages had nothing to do with getting vaccinated for the flu. In addition, the study does not quantify the risk of miscarriage and does not prove that flu vaccine was the cause of miscarriage, according to a statement from ACOG.
“ACOG continues to recommend that all women receive the influenza vaccine,” the statement reads. “This is particularly important during pregnancy. Influenza vaccination is an essential element of prenatal care because pregnant women are at an increased risk of serious illness and mortality due to influenza. In addition, maternal vaccination is the most effective strategy to protect newborns because the vaccine is not approved for use in infants younger than six months.”
Women who have concerns or questions about receiving flu vaccine should talk to their health provider.
It’s officially fall time, and you know what that means: pumpkin flavored everything. For some people, this might mean enjoying a slice of pumpkin pie or heading to the closest Starbucks for a pumpkin spiced latte to celebrate the season. Although pumpkin flavored goodies are often seen as an indulgence (the aforementioned latte contains 380 calories and 50 grams of sugar), keep in mind that pumpkin does not always have to be a splurge. If you’re looking to stay on track with your health this season, pumpkins can help with that too! These hearty vegetables (though biologically a fruit) are rich in fiber and vitamin A, and are an effective way to boost immunity when flu season comes around. As an alternative to buying pumpkin-flavored desserts, healthy pumpkin options can easily be made at home. For example, pumpkin puree can be added to pancake batter, oatmeal, smoothies, or even your favorite chili recipe. Also, don’t forget about the seeds! Toasted pumpkin seeds are a healthy and portable snack to have on hand and are a good source of protein and fiber. To prepare, rinse the seeds to remove pumpkin pulp and strings, spread them onto a baking sheet, and drizzle with a small amount of oil. Bake at 325 degree for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add seasonings you may have on hand, such as garlic powder or Cajun seasonings. Get into the pumpkin craze this season without the splurge and embrace the full power of this amazing food.
By Whitney Martin, Master of Public Health Student at Liberty University
Intern for Bon Secours Physical Therapy and Sports Performance
For more information about nutrition and choosing healthy foods, visit us at
Each individual has some asymmetry in their bodies — the neurological, circulatory, and respiratory systems are just not the same on both sides of the body, and this is perfectly normal. But dominant overuse of the muscles on one side of the body can cause structural weaknesses, pain, and instability, and it can have an overall negative impact on your body’s nerve and muscle functioning.
Postural Restoration (PRI®) helps to correct and compensate for these asymmetries and overuse so that you can enjoy your full level of activity, avoid pain, and prevent further injury in the future. Postural Restoration is a physical therapy treatment that focuses on identifying and correcting common postural problems. Treatment can include specific exercises, manual adjustments, and individualized recommendations for how to sit, stand, and move.
You may benefit from PRI® therapy if you suffer from chronic neck and/or shoulder pain, headaches or jaw pain, recurring spasms or tension in a specific part of the body, pain in the lower back, tendonitis, or bursitis. Postural Restoration has helped many patients increase their mobility and flexibility, improve spinal stabilization, strengthen the core, decrease chronic pain, and improve athletic performance.
For more information on The Postural Restoration Institute® (PRI), click here.
Despite widespread evidence that flu shots help protect people from getting sick, many still refuse to roll up their sleeves.
If you’re one of those who question whether flu vaccines really work, chances are you’ve heard some of the widespread myths that seem to start circulating every fall.
Recent studies show that getting a flu shot can reduce your risk of illness up to 60 percent, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Although infants under the age of 6 months are too young to get a flu shot, they are protected for the first four months of their life if their mother was vaccinated. Flu vaccination helps protect women during and after pregnancy.
Everyone over the age of 6 months should get a flu shot every year, according to federal health recommendations. Yet many people don’t. Last November, only 40 percent of eligible people had received their flu shot, according to the CDC.
Flu shots do not cause the flu.
The vaccine contains viruses that have been inactivated, which means they’re not infectious. It can cause mild, short-lasting side effects, she said, but it doesn’t give you the flu. Minor side effects include a low-grade fever, aches and soreness on your arm from the shot.
To understand why some might believe this myth, you need to know how the flu vaccine works.
It takes about two weeks after getting your flu shot for your body to develop enough antibodies to protect you. So, should you get the flu after getting your vaccine, you were likely infected before or during that two-week window.
Another possibility: it’s not the flu. It’s a cold. Many people confuse respiratory viruses with influenza because they cause similar symptoms.
Flu shots work.
The truth is that you can still get the flu even though you had a flu shot. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get one.
How well the vaccine works can vary for each person. Older people, whose immune systems are not as strong, will not develop the same immunity as someone younger or healthier.
Another factor that affects the vaccine’s effectiveness is whether it closely matches the viruses circulating. The closer the match, the better the protection.
It’s important to know that even if the vaccine doesn’t closely match the viruses circulating, it still helps protect people. Should you become infected, your case of the flu will be milder because you had a flu shot.
While physical therapists focus on big movements, occupational therapists help patients regain the ability to do small movements that are necessary for daily living. These movements might include things like feeding yourself, buttoning your shirt, or signing your name. You may receive occupational therapy in the hospital, at an outpatient practice, at home, or even at school if you’re a child or teen.
Occupational therapists help people of all ages, from children with developmental disabilities to adults with injuries or seniors who have experienced a stroke. You or a loved one may benefit from occupational therapy if:
A HEALTH CONDITION AFFECTS YOUR DAILY LIFE
If arthritis in your hands keeps you from buttoning your shirt, or Parkinson’s disease keeps you from feeding yourself, occupational therapists can help you regain these skills. They may have you use adaptive equipment that makes tasks easier for you and/or have you complete exercises to rebuild these skills.
YOUR CHILD HAS A DISABILITY
Children with autism or other disabilities frequently see occupational therapists both in- and outside of school settings. Your child’s occupational therapist can help them with writing, social situations, and other activities that may be challenging for them. Beginning regular occupational therapy when your child is young can help them build skills and gain independence that will last a lifetime.
YOUR HOME HAS BECOME DIFFICULT TO NAVIGATE
If you need to use a wheelchair or other mobility equipment, it can be difficult for you to move around your home and perform tasks as you once did. An occupational therapist can assess your home and help you find ways to adapt it to fit your needs. They can also help you find adaptive equipment that makes tasks easier.
YOU HAVE A HAND INJURY
A severe hand injury at any age can affect your ability to work and play. An occupational therapist can help you rebuild strength and function so that you can return to activities you enjoy.
YOU HAD ORTHOPEDIC SURGERY
Whether you have surgery on your knee or shoulder, elbow or hip, you may need help returning to your daily activities after orthopedic surgery. Occupational therapists, working alongside physical therapists, can help you practice these skills safely so you can build strength with a lower risk of injury after surgery. Participating in therapy can help you heal faster so you can get back to your normal life.