Mamas on Bedrest: My Bout with the Flu

January 19th, 2013

The Flu crept into my home and took up residence for the past week. It started last Thursday when my daughter began complaining of a sore throat. It struck with full force on Saturday when my daughter come home from her Dad’s with a fever, sore throat and lethargy. She seemed to get better on Sunday and we spent the better part of the day getting her science project finished. All seemed well, we seemed to have dodged a bullet, but on Monday, I dropped both kids off at school only to be called back at 10:30 am to pick up my daughter who had a 102 degree fever.

The flu was unrelenting. As I tended to my daughter on Monday and Tuesday, I was caught off guard when my son awoke with a fever on Wednesday.  He was not as ill as my daughter had appeared, but the barking, unrelenting cough was concerning so I took him into the after hours clinic (because of course his symptoms didn’t get worse until after 5 pm!). A nasal culture confirmed flu and he was started on Tamiflu. By the time we left the after hours clinic, my head was throbbing and I had chills. We were all sick.

Tonight, a week later, we are all on the mend. Both of my children are in much better shape than I am, fever free and in pretty much their usual state of exuberance.  I am better, fever free and able to sit up with my head no longer pounding, but I am not quite well after having been the sickest that I have ever been in my life (that I can recall).

My bout with the flu really got me thinking about Mamas on Bedrest. This flu is really severe, and I have to say, it knocked me down in the way that nothing else has that I can recall. I am a strong, healthy person. Mamas on Bedrest, even the healthiest mamas, have compromised immune systems. Pregnancy impacts a woman’s immune system and puts them at risk for numerous opportunistic infections like the flu. So how should Mamas on Bedrest protect themselves (and their babies) in the face of what many are calling a flu epidemic?

The Flu shot. Whether or not to take the flu shot remains a controversial decision. I have to admit that neither my children nor I are able to take the flu shot (my kids are allergic to eggs and I have violent reactions to the shot for unknown reasons!). However, the current medical recommendations are that those at greatest risk (and pregnant women fall into that category) receive the flu shot. As we have previously posted on this blog,  The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that every woman who will be pregnant during the flu season get the flu shot. However, many women have fundamental hesitations to taking the flu shot. The only thing that we here at Mamas on Bedrest & Beyond can suggest is that you have a candid talk with your health care provider and learn as much as you can about this year’s flu, the flu vaccine, your personal risk and whether or not taking the flu shot is the best option for you.

Antiviral Medications. My son was prescribed Tamiflu, an antiviral medication prescribed to lessen the duration and severity of the flu. Unfortunately, Tamiflu and many other flu remedies are not indicated in pregnancy, so again, Mamas on Bedrest need to remain vigilant in their flu prevention and to have a very low threshold for seeking medical attention when or if symptoms begin to present.

Alternative/Homeopathic Remedies. These remedies are always controversial. While most alternative and homeopathic remedies are generally non-toxic as compared to their pharmaceutical counterparts, there is typically far less data available regarding efficacy and safety. Again, We cannot recommend or advise Mamas on Bedrest try alternative or homeopathic remedies, we can only say learn as much as you can about any proposed remedies you are considering taking and speak with an experienced, skilled practitioner who can guide you what to take and how to take it.

Finally, the best flu defense is an aggressive offense.  We recommend the following measures for Mamas on Bedrest:

  1. Those who may be infected with the flu should not be around Mamas on Bedrest. Any visitor who has symptoms indicative of flu should not be allowed to visit Mamas on Bedrest.
  2. Infected family members should be kept away from Mamas on Bedrest. Now I know that this can be hard, especially if those affected are your older children or even your spouse. But you mamas are at great risk for developing a severe case of the flu and you and your unborn child are at increased risk for severe complications. As much as possible, have someone else care for sick children and ask your spouse to sleep in another room until they are symptom free.
  3. Increase Rest and Fluid intake.

I don’t want to seem like a Nervous Nelly, but I have to tell you, this flu is serious and I would hate for any mama on bedrest to suffer or for her and her unborn child to be at  risk for severe complications or even death. Mamas, be well, be safe and be healthy!

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