Flu jab plea to mothers-to-be

HEALTH bosses are urging pregnant High Peak women to get the flu jab to protect them and their unborn child from the potentially devastating effect of the virus.

Since 2009’s swine flu pandemic, pregnant women have been considered to be at increased risk of the flu virus, which is now more common among younger and middle-aged people. Nationally, a quarter of people admitted to intensive care because of flu last winter were aged between 15 and 44.

Last winter nearly 31 per cent of expectant mums in the county had the jab but local doctors are calling for even more mums-to-be to come forward and take up their free flu jab offer to protect themselves against the virus.

Goyt Valley Medical Practice GP Dr David Riddell, who also chairs NHS North Derbyshire Clinical Commissioning Group’s High Peak Locality Clinical Reference Group, said: “Since swine flu, pregnant women are much more at risk of the severe consequences of the flu.

“Having flu is horrible at the best of times – but in pregnancy it can cause serious, life-threatening illnesses such as pneumonia and blood poisoning.

“As a result of flu, babies can also be born premature or with a low birth weight. In some cases it can even lead to stillbirth or death.

“It’s natural to be worried about having the flu jab, but it only takes a few minutes, and it could make a world of difference.

“So if you are pregnant, speak to your GP or midwife today and book your flu jab appointment.”

Studies have shown that pregnant women with some strains of flu are four times more likely to develop serious illness and four to five times more likely to be admitted to hospital than the general population.

Having the jab also protects women from the virus throughout pregnancy and their unborn child for four to six months after birth.