Newborn babies at greater risk of bad outcome with the flu

Many people here in the Lowcountry are suffering from the flu.

Officials at Summerville Medical Center say they are seeing a dramatic increase in more serious cases of the flu.

Dr. Art Shepard is a neonatologist at Summerville Medical Center. “We are seeing a tremendous increase in the cases of flu requiring medical care this year compared to previous years. The numbers I’m hearing from hospitalists at Summerville Medical Center are that they’re seeing a 300% increase over prior years.”

Lauren Cobb knows how bad it can be. “I had like a cough and a mild fever. I thought, ‘maybe I’m having a cold.’ It just got worse and worse. I started throwing up. Tylenol wouldn’t kick it. I just was miserable, so finally I went to urgent care and they just sent me straight to the emergency room.”

Turns out, Lauren and her whole family had the flu. “I got type A, my son got type B and my husband also got it.”

Fortunately they are on the other side of it now, but it was rough.

Dr. Shepard says wash your hands frequently, and do not touch your mouth, nose or eyes.

Pregnant women, and newborn babies are at the highest risk for bad outcomes. “The mom that comes in who is not only in labor but also in the early stages of having influenza, mom already feels terrible because she’s in labor and then to have all the horrible symptoms that go along with influenza, it’s a big stress for mom and can make you feel really bad.”

They will keep babies and moms apart for some time if mom has the flu, to prevent spreading the flu to her baby. Also, Dr. Shepard says sick family and friends don’t need to be around newborns.

There is more information about the flu at the links below.

Here is an article from the American Academy of Pediatrics…

https://www.aap.org/en-us/advocacy-and-policy/aap-health-initiatives/children-and-disasters/documents/special-considerations-to-treat-and-prevent-flu-in-newborns_final.pdf

And another article from the CDC…

https://www.cdc.gov/flu/professionals/infectioncontrol/peri-post-settings.htm

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