COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control is encouraging pregnant women to get their flu shots.
According to a recent panel survey conducted by Centers for Disease Control, many pregnant women are at risk of getting the flu this season.
As of November 2017, the influenza vaccination coverage among pregnant women before and during pregnancy was 35.6 percent. the survey said.
"The percentage is alarming because it means that almost two-thirds of pregnant women are potentially not protected," said Dr. Tracy Foo, DHEC's Immunization and Acute Disease Epidemiology Division.
When given during pregnancy, the flu shot has been shown to protect both the mother and baby for several months after birth and can be administered during any trimester SC DHEC says.
Any pregnant woman experiencing flu-like symptoms like fever, cough, or muscle aches is urged to contact their healthcare provider immediately. The flu is a serious disease that is more severe for pregnant women and can lead to hospitalization or death according to SC DHEC.
"Pregnant women are encouraged to get their flu shot because it's never too late to protect yourself and your baby," Foo said.
Flu vaccines are offered in many locations, including doctor's offices, clinics, health departments, and pharmacies, as well as by many employers. You can find your local flu clinic on DHEC's website.