Madison
74° F
Light Rain
Light Rain
Advertisement

4 pregnant women hospitalized for flu in Wisconsin

By Dannika Lewis, dlewis@wisctv.com
Published On: Dec 07 2012 09:52:41 PM CST
Updated On: Dec 08 2012 01:53:51 PM CST

MADISON, Wis. -

Medical professionals around Madison say the flu virus is fast and furious this season, and they have a special warning for pregnant women this year.

According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, 33 people have been hospitalized so far for the flu.

This time last year, there were no recorded hospitalizations.

Among those treated in a hospital after coming down with the influenza virus, four pregnant women have been hospitalized for the flu statewide.

“We really haven't heard a whole lot about pregnant women since the swine flu, or the H1N1 of 2009,” said St. Mary’s hospital nurse epidemiologist Ellen Smith, “where we saw a lot of pregnant women that year as well that were high risk and really quite ill.”

Smith says the early numbers are concerning, and expecting mothers are at risk, just like the elderly or young children.

“Pregnancy does put a stresser on the human body,” Smith noted, “and it's important to protect yourself and protect that unborn child, so it's something that we really need to think about.”

With a few mild years for the flu, Smith expects many are putting off getting a flu shot and not thinking much about the season.

She adds it takes two weeks to develop immunity after receiving the vaccine, so everyone, including pregnant women, shouldn’t put it off.

“Often times pregnant women will say they don't want to put anything into their body,” Smith said, “but the single most important thing that they can do to prevent influenza to themselves and to their family is to get immunized.”

Some doctors say that action also protects the baby.

"Vaccinating moms during pregnancy protects not just mom, but also protects their newborns from influenza for up to six months after birth, because antibodies against the flu pass from mom to baby," UW obstetrician/gynecologist Dr. Sarah Bradley said. "This is the only effective way to prevent the flu in newborns as the vaccine can't be used in infants younger than six months."

According to UW physicians, state division of public health epidemiologist Tom Haupt said the women were admitted to hospitals in Milwaukee and Waukesha counties in southeast Wisconsin.

Haupt added that the virus could affect expectant mothers in southern Wisconsin, including Dane County.

Haupt says for the entire 2011-12 flu season, nine pregnant women were hospitalized in Wisconsin.

Smith says the other easy ways to protect yourself and others from the flu is just what mom taught you.

She says covering your coughs, washing your hands, and skipping the social gatherings when you don’t feel well can go far to prevent the spread of flu this holiday season.
 

Advertisement
  • Kenneth Bae, Matthew Miller, Jeffrey Fowle

    CNN

    Who are 3 Americans detained in North Korea?

    Matthew Todd Miller, a 24-year-old from California, has been convicted of "acts hostile" to North Korea and sentenced to six years of hard labor. Learn more about the three Americans currently being detained in North Korea.

  • iOS 8

    From Apple

    Best new Apple iOS 8 features

    Apple's iOS 8 is here, and it's packed with slick new features. Take a look at some of the best changes to the latest version of the popular mobile operating system.

  • Testing for Ebola

    REUTERS/Misha Hussain

    Common myths about Ebola

    At least eight Ebola aid workers and journalists were reportedly murdered in a remote village in Guinea in a brutal example of growing distrust locals have of foreigners coming to help stem the mushrooming health crisis. Take a look at common myths about the deadly virus.

  • C3K-EVENTS

    Events calendar

    Looking for something to do? Visit Channel 3000's events section featuring dining, food, music and family-friendly events throughout Madison and the surrounding area.

  • Get your weather app

    Channel3000.com and WISC-TV3 deliver local forecasts, live radar, school closings and alerts for Madison and South Central Wisconsin to iOS or Android devices.

  • Learn more about WISC-TV

    Meet the News 3 staff, learn about our newscasts, search our job postings and find out how to contact us.

Advertisement