Influenza A (H1N1) in Pregnancy and Post-pregnancy

What is Influenza a (H1N1)?

Influenza A (H1N1) or just the flu is a contagious respiratory disease. The name swine flu came from the fact that this disease usually only affect pigs. This flu virus has mutated and passed to humans, passing from person to person.

The H1N1 flu has different effects on different people. Some people have symptoms less accented than others. However, there are some people who, in extreme cases, may die due to disease.

What Are the Symptoms of Influenza A (H1N1)?

Some of the symptoms are very similar to those of the most common flu:

  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Sore throats
  • Headaches
  • The creeps
  • Muscle aches and joint pain
  • Cough
  • Acute abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting

Influenza A (H1N1) can cause very high fevers and can reach 39 C or more in maternity nursing bras. As in the common seasonal flu, children who are less than 5 years of age are considered a higher-risk group. If your child has a high fever, is sleepy, little interactive, you don’t want to eat and, in more severe cases, have difficulty breathing, go with her to the hospital.

How to Spread the Influenza A (H1N1)?

The H1N1 flu is quite contagious and spreads quickly, especially in enclosed spaces and in large crowds. The virus passes from person to person by coughing and sneezing, of people who are infected. The virus is expelled into the air or through the hands (which arise in front of the nose when you sneeze, or mouth when cough) and who later come into contact with several sites. Other people play in those same locations and take the hands to the mouth or the eyes getting the virus in your body. It is important to keep in mind that the virus does not pass through the pork or even in contact with the same.

Pregnancy, and the Risk of Contracting Influenza A (H1N1)?

If you are pregnant you may already know that your immunity to certain infections decreases – that has as function does not leave the body reject the baby. For this reason, the risk of developing an infection is greater. The most serious risks related to influenza a (H1N1) may include premature labor and pneumonia. Upon seeing this must have the necessary care to protect you and your baby.

Influenza A (H1N1) Can Affect the Fetus?

A common cold the baby in the womb is protected from v rus. But the H1N1 flu is a new strain of influenza and, unfortunately, nobody knows for sure if she is able to pass the placenta or not.

What to Do If You Contact Someone Who Has Contracted the H1N1 Virus?

It is important, if you know that you have contacted with someone in this situation, you proceed to your doctor or call the national health service-health 24 “(808 24 24 24)-and explain what happened. Explain that you’re pregnant and you were, or are, in contact with someone with influenza A (H1N1). Influenza A (H1N1) can be more severe in people who have a more weakened immune system. This virus is very contagious, and shall take all the measures to anticipate the contract, as well as to test to see if you’ve contracted.

Is There Any Treatment For Swine Flu (H1N1)?

There is still no cure for this flu, but some antiviral medications help relieve symptoms and rapid recovery: oseltamivir and zanamivir.

The prescription medicines currently can be administered to children over 1 year of age. However, there are no data yet to admit that it is safe to administer any medication to a baby under 12 months of age, or pregnant. However, your doctor may prescribe you see fit this type of antiviral, because the benefit may outweigh the risk.

Influenza A (H1N1) Is Contagious For How Long?

Children can have periods of infection greater, but an adult common contracts swine flu can be contagious virus for about 7 days after having contracted the disease.

What Measures to Take to Avoid Swine Flu (H1N1)?

As the common flu there are measures that can help to minimize the risk of contracting the flu or infect other people:

  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue that can throw in the trash right away.
  • If you do not have a tissue, cover your mouth or nose with the inside of the elbow. This will prevent the virus get on your hands and you will pass the other with his hands.
  • Soon after you cough or sneeze, wash your hands immediately with SOAP and water. Pass your hands with water and SOAP them well for about 15 seconds and then rinse again. If you do not have the possibility to wash your hands with SOAP and water, then opt for a disinfectant wipe, or a disinfectant spray.
  • Do not touch eyes, nose or mouth, to receive or disseminate germs.
  • Wash your hands often, because the virus can live about 2 hours on a common surface, such as a doorknob.
  • Eat well, include foods rich in antioxidants and vitamins in your diet. Fruit, whole grains and vegetables rich in vitamin C help fight and prevent infections.
  • Drink water, or other liquids, in abundance to replenish those lost by being sick.
  • Avoid very villages and travel, especially by air.
  • Treat the fever. Keep the temperature inside of your usual values is very important for your baby. Paracetamol is the best treatment for fever during pregnancy and can be taken 8/gram of 8:00. If you have questions you can call the hotline “24 Health” (808 24 24 24).
  • Antiviral medications such as Tamiflu ® (oseltamivir) or Relenza ® (zanamivir) should only be used under medical prescription.

And If You’Re Sick? Can I Breastfeed My Baby?

Breastfeeding is recommended because it protects babies from respiratory infections. If you are sick with influenza A (H1N1) should make the extraction of your milk, and during the infectious period the baby should receive milk extracted, given by a person/family sick.

If You Are Sick with Influenza A (H1N1) and Not Have Anyone Who Could Handle Or Feed Baby?

Should:

  • Be careful not to cough or sneeze less than 1 metre from the baby or your face.
  • Protect your nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.
  • Wash your hands after sneezing or coughing.
  • Use a mask when taking care of baby. (Replace it if feeling moist.)
  • Remove the mask playing only on ties/rubber bands and not in front (if you touch the front of the mask must disinfect your hands thoroughly before touching your baby).

What Can I Do to Protect the Baby From the Influenza A (H1N1)?

  • Have an extra care to wash your hands frequently, with SOAP and water, for 40 to 60 seconds, or with an alcoholic solution.
  • Keep the baby away from sick people or affected areas.
  • Limit the exchange of toys with other children especially if they take them to the mouth.
  • Wash frequently with water and SOAP any objects that the baby put it in your mouth.

Can I Continue to Breast-Feed If You Are Taking Medicines to Prevent Or Treat This Flu?

Yes. Treatment or prophylaxis with antiviral medication is no contraindication to breastfeeding.

Interrupt the Breastfeeding If You Suspect Had Contact with the Virus of Influenza A (H1N1)?

No. If you are breast-feeding, is producing antibodies to fight the infections that come into contact and your milk is suitable to destroy the same infections in the baby. Breastfeeding also helps develop baby’s ability to fight infectious diseases. You must however use the preventive measures previously described.

What If My Baby Gets Sick, Can I Breastfeed?

Yes. The best thing you can do for your sick baby is to keep breastfeeding. Offer the breast more frequently. Babies who are ill have a higher need for liquids. What you get when you chug is superior to any other liquid better than water, juice or hidroelectrolítica replacement solutions, because it also helps protect the baby’s immune system. If your child is so sick you can’t breastfeed, can offer your milk per Cup, bottle, syringe or eyedropper.

Vaccine for Influenza a (H1N1)

Common flu vaccines do not protect from H1N1 flu. In Portugal, the flu vaccine is now available to pregnant women and high-risk groups. See your doctor to find out how to proceed.