A Devon family has urged pregnant women across the county to do all they can to get vaccinated after her and her unborn baby nearly died as a result of flu.

While 8-months pregnant, Devon woman Hayley Sycamore caught flu. She quickly deteriorated and contracted pneumonia (a lung infection).  As a result, her daughter Naomi was born prematurely.

Eventually, they both made a full recovery. This winter, Hayley and her husband Steve are encouraging pregnant women get have the flu vaccine.

Hayley knew that being pregnant meant she was at high risk of developing illness and when she first started to experience the symptoms of flu, she just took herself to bed.  She hadn’t anticipated quite how poorly she could become and found herself deteriorating very quickly

Emma Fuell, midwife at the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust, said:  The negative effects of contracting influenza in pregnancy cannot be underestimated.  Not only can it make you very ill, but in the worst-case situations, it can result in very serious respiratory problems, a prolonged hospital stay, or even death. Flu in a pregnant woman can also have devastating effects as should the unborn baby contract the flu virus this can lead to growth problems, premature birth and even still birth.

Advice on getting the flu jab:

If you’re pregnant, you will benefit from the flu vaccine because:

  • it reduces your chance of getting serious complications of flu, such as pneumonia, particularly in the later stages of pregnancy
  • it reduces your risk of having a miscarriage, or your baby being born prematurely or with a low birthweight because of flu
  • it will help protect your baby as they will continue to have some immunity to flu for the first few months of their life

It’s safe to have the flu vaccine at any stage of pregnancy from conception onwards. Talk to your GP, midwife or pharmacist if you want more information.

Remember, flu vaccines cannot give you flu. The injected flu vaccine given to adults contains inactivated flu viruses, so it can’t give you flu. Your arm may feel a bit sore where you were injected, and some people get a slight temperature and aching muscles for a couple of days afterwards. Other reactions are very rare.

You can also find more information here

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