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Flu call for mums-to-be

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By Fiona Reid
Annan and Eskdale
Flu call for mums-to-be

PREGNANT women in Dumfries and Galloway are being urged to protect themselves against flu - with new figures showing only half have been vaccinated this winter.

Just 55 per cent of those expecting a baby locally have had their free flu jab.
And health bosses are urging the rest to follow suit.
Director of the Royal College of Midwives Scotland Gillian Smith said: “It has now become critical we stress to pregnant women that flu is a really serious illness – it is not just a bad cold.
“It can have a serious impact on those expecting a baby. You could experience premature labour, stillbirth, or a miscarriage but also you could become seriously ill yourself.”
She also revealed that flu was the cause of death among one in 11 women who died during, or shortly after, pregnancy; and pregnant women who contract flu are also five times more likely to have a stillborn baby, or for the baby to die in the first week following birth.
The vaccination is free, safe at any time during pregnancy and evidence shows it can help to protect the baby for up to three months after birth.
Ms Smith added: “Getting immunised against flu offers the best protection against the virus. It takes about 10 days to be protected after getting the vaccine, so pregnant women are advised to get the vaccination as soon as possible.”
The vaccine is available at GP surgeries across the region until the end of March.

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