Fall is here and with the cooler weather comes the inevitable & dreaded Flu season.
Not only are we still battling with COVID-19 & anxiously awaiting a predicted second wave, but now the flu is thrown into our stress mix.
Now you are wearing your mask and social distancing – so shouldn’t the flu risk be blunted this year? Maybe, and fingers crossed – let’s hope so. We could all use a break, especially our front line health workers.
But this year is not the time to be caviler and downplay the effects of the flu on you and your future baby. The CDC, the WHO, family physicians, and us your fertility doctors here at IRMS, are all urging you to get your flu shot.
Here’s 5 Good Reasons to get the Flu Shot if you are pregnant or trying to conceive:
1. Influenza is more likely to cause severe illness in pregnant women than in women of reproductive age who are not pregnant. 
Once pregnant, your body will be going through a lot of changes. Changes to your heart, lungs, and ever important, immune system. This will make you much more susceptible to severe complications from the flu and increased risk of hospitalization.
2. The flu may be harmful to your developing baby.
The CDC, in collaboration with Slone Epidemiology Center at Boston University undertook a study that showed women who displayed having a fever before or during early pregnancy were twice more likely to have a baby with a neural tube defect. 
What about Folic Acid to reduce birth defects you ask? Yes, folic acid can help mitigate the effects of a fever and lessen the chances of birth defects but shouldn’t be a substitute for getting your flu shot. They should work in tandem to create a healthy, pregnant, beautiful you. You can read our blog on the benefits of folic acid for further insight on this B vitamin.
3. The Flu Vaccine Helps Your Baby After Birth
By getting vaccinated you can pass wonderfully important antibodies to your developing baby while pregnant, thus adding a layer of protection against the flu for your baby after it is born. Remember a newborn cannot get the vaccine until at least 6 months old.
4. Fever From the Flu can Lower Sperm Counts
Guys we haven’t forgotten you. For the guys out there trying to conceive, getting a high fever from the flu has shown to negatively impact sperm production up to 2- 3 months after the fever occurred. Which is in the ballpark of how long it takes for sperm to mature.
5. The COVID-19 Overlap
Another extremely important reason to get the vaccine is that flu season will overlap with our battle with COVID-19. With most of us in the country moving indoors, there is concern that increased infection rates will follow and that will impact the healthcare we can provide. And the flu isn’t a picky partner; no matter where you are in the country you can contract influenza.
By getting your flu shot – you are not only protecting yourself from the flu but you are protecting your loved ones and the community at large from spreading the virus and overburdening our hospitals, essential workers and the resources they have to keep us safe.
“ Every year it’s important to get your flu shot to minimize your risk, but this year it’s more important than ever with COVID. So to take a page from Nike, JUST DO IT! Flu shots are often free or fully covered by your insurance. Get it now!”
Debbra A. Keegan, MD – Clinical Director at IRMS
Differences Between the Flu Shot Versus the Flu Nasal Spray
If pregnant, it is vitally important you get the flu shot and not the nasal mist as per the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) advice.
The flu shot contains a form of the flu virus that is inactivated. It cannot cause disease. The shot can be given to pregnant women at any time during pregnancy. A live, attenuated influenza vaccine is available as a nose spray. The nose spray vaccine is not recommended for pregnant women. However, it is safe for women after they have given birth, including those who are breastfeeding.
Hopefully our case has been made, and you are going to get your flu shot this flu season by the end of October ideally! For further information on how to do this safely during the pandemic, visit the CDC’s website.
We are here for you on any questions you may have on your fertility journey. You can reach out to us reach out to us at 973-548-9900 or drop us a line through our website contact form, chat widget or any of our social platforms.