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Should one have the flu vaccination whilst pregnant (or even if not pregnant)?

(17 Posts)
LadyDawn Wed 07-Sep-16 16:36:20

I don't know whether I ought to have the flu vaccination or not. I have never had flu but I know that since I am pregnant my immune system is not as strong, so perhaps I am now at greater risk. However, isn't the flu vaccination a kind-of luck dip? When the vaccination is developed, no one really knows what strain of flu is going to be most prevalent. So, I could have the vaccination against the strain 'most likely' to be caught, and then actually it's a different strain that I catch. What if having the vaccination (inactive as it is) causes me to biologically become more susceptible to flu in the future? How can anyone know how safe it really is?
I've read about a substance in elderberries that is supposed to be effective against preventing flu, when taken regularly, or helps with the symptons much quicker than certain other market flu medications. Does anyone know more about this?

shewolfmum Mon 19-Sep-16 23:45:15

Yes you can make this...search for elderberry syrup recipe. Check it is ok during pregnancy as i believe it may not be. No vaccine can be tested on pregnant women so do your research.

panad317 Mon 19-Sep-16 23:46:43

I waa told I had to have it on both pregnancies

HomeIsWhereTheGinisNow Mon 19-Sep-16 23:47:14

Have it.

BikeRunSki Mon 19-Sep-16 23:49:11

The NHs advice is to have it, that's why it is offered free to pregnant women.

butterfly92 Thu 22-Sep-16 08:41:09

I decline all flu vaccines and also whooping cough vaccine while pregnant

YoungGirlGrowingOld Thu 22-Sep-16 08:48:37

I had it last week on the same day as the whooping cough. I have felt like death ever since!

I would probabably still have it though (and I know it's likely to be a coincidence, but still....) Bah!

welshweasel Thu 22-Sep-16 08:55:26

No one can force you to have it or tell you that you have to have it. However it is a safe vaccine, has been given to hundreds of thousands of pregnant women without ill effects and is a good way of reducing the risk to yourself and your baby. Young pregnant women are one of the high risk groups, not necessarily for contracting the virus but for having complications and dying from it. I've seen pregnant people ventilated on ITU with flu, that was enough to make me have mine. As an aside, the flu vaccine can't give you flu, or a cold, so that's no excuse!!

Caper86 Thu 22-Sep-16 08:57:15

There's a lot of negative stuff out there about the flu vaccine, and I know that one brand of it states clearly on the insert that it's never been proven to protect from the flu! Personally i didn't risk having it. They advise you not to take headache pills when pregnant but readily vaccinate women with all sorts in the flu jab without it being tested first.

Imnotaslimjim Thu 22-Sep-16 08:59:23

They can take a "best guess" at what strains are going to be most prevalent every year by tracking it around the world earlier in the year. 2 years ago it mutated massively and the flu jab that year was pretty ineffective.

However, contracting flu while you're pregnant can be dangerous to you and your unborn baby so personally I would advise that you get it. Obviously, do your own research as to side effects etc and decide if it's worth it.

younggirl last time I had the flu jab, I felt rough for a week. I was achy, tired, had a sore throat and cough but they insist that it isn't the jab causing it! Drives me mad. Of course you can get "flu-like symptoms" they're injecting you with flu. The symptoms are from your body fighting back.

welshweasel Thu 22-Sep-16 10:00:44

It's not a live virus. There is no way that the vaccine can give you flu, a common cold or any other viral illness. You can get side effects from the jab such as a swollen arm though.

YoungGirlGrowingOld Thu 22-Sep-16 11:22:32

Thanks Jim and Welsh - I know it's likely to be unconnected and/or psychological but it's still a bit fishy in my humble ill-informed opinion. I also have sore arms and newly diagnosed gestational diabetes so feeling very sorry for myself. I still think it's a good idea to get the jabs though. Pregnancy is bad enough without getting flu!

KnitNerd Sun 02-Oct-16 21:54:56

When you breath in, you breath in live flu virus. If you're lucky your body will fight it off, if you're not you get sick. When you have the flu vaccine you're given a tiny amount of dead flu virus, your immune system doesn't know it's dead, it tries to fight off the 'infection' it thinks you have which is why sometimes you can feel a bit aches etc after it. It's just your body making antibodies so that if you breath in the real live virus you will have the right antibodies to kill it before you get sick. Flu can occasionally be dangerous, people can die. The people most likely to have serious problems when they get flu are the very old, people who have other health problems and pregnant women. The vaccine cannot hurt you, the live virus can if you do not have the antibodies to fight it off.

LadyDawn Wed 02-Nov-16 16:33:24

Thanks all, I did a bit more research. There was a small study where 19 subjects were injected with the live flu virus. Half of them got ill, the other half did not. It suggested that, similar to what KnitNerd said, we may get exposed to the live flu all the time, just without getting the symptons. I got the vaccination done, but I agree with Caper86, goodness knows what else is in the injection. Since the flu can be harmful to my unborn baby I decided it was the lesser risk to take.
I also had my whooping cough vaccination done on the same day. 5 hours later I got a sudden bought of intense diarrhea (way too much info I'm sure!) with no other symptons. I tried to tell my midwife and she just said it should be expected. I disagree. If the flu vaccination is new each year, and it's not tested on pregnant ladies, there ought to be a duty of care where we can report all and any adverse events we experience from any vaccination, whether singular or in combination!

Blossombee Sat 19-Nov-16 17:31:39

I didn't have it when pregnant and have a healthy baby. My FIL died shortly after having the flu shot last year, my MIL's dementia got so much worse, her cleaning lady's granddaughter was born healthy but had the flu shot and it disabled her soon after. I used to have it myself due to being told I should have it as being asthmatic - it made me ill for 3 months at a time. I kept wondering what was bringing the illness on for years. I've been healthy ever since stopping it (and got over my asthma soon after!)

GlacindaTheTroll Sat 19-Nov-16 17:34:08

The predictions of the dominant strains can be wrong.

It's happened once.

They can also be right.

It's happened all the other times.

LadyDawn Thu 24-Nov-16 11:50:24

Blossombee I am sorry to hear about the bad reactions experienced by you and your family. I have heard similar stories. I've just found a scheme where we can report suspected side-effects/reactions etc. from any kind of medication, prescribed or over the counter, I just used it to fill in my side-effect. I work in the pharmaceutical industry so I know how important it is to report absolutely anything, even if you only very remotely think a medication could be linked. yellowcard.mhra.gov.uk/

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