Flu vaccines are routinely recommended to help reduce the risk that kids get the flu.
Unfortunately, kids who are under six months old, who are at high risk for complications from the flu, are too young to get a flu shot.
That's why it is often recommended that all contacts of these newborns and younger infants get a yearly flu shot, with the idea that if no one around them gets sick with the flu, then that will decrease their chances of being exposed and getting sick themselves.
A new study that was published in the June issue of American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, "Impact of maternal immunization on influenza hospitalizations in infants," reinforces the idea that young children can be protected from the flu if their mothers get a flu shot while still pregnant.
While there is a recommendation that women who are pregnant get a flu shot, it is primarily a recommendation to protect the health of the mother during her pregnancy. This study, which looked at hospitalized infants during flu seasons from 2002 to 2009, found that infants of mothers who had received a flu shot while pregnant were 45 to 48% less likely to be hospitalized with influenza.
Although the number of pregnant women who got a flu shot rose to a high of 51% recently during the H1N1 pandemic, that is still lower than some other high risk groups. News that getting a flu shot can also protect their baby during flu season will hopefully get even more pregnant moms their flu shot during the 2011-12 flu season.