So, swine flu is spreading and although the sense of sheer panic seems to be abating (possibly because the media are playing it down a little in contrast to a few weeks ago), I thought it would be useful to point out that the UK Department of Health has published information for pregnant and breastfeeding mothers wondering what to do in the case of swine flu.
It is also advised that pregnant women only use paracetamol to control any fever they may have.
'Pregnant women should not take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for the treatment of flu symptoms, because they may interfere with the baby’s pulmonary blood flow.'
In particular mothers should feed on demand. Where possible additional formula should not be used so that the infant receives as much of the maternal antibodies as possible.
If a mother is ill, she should continue breastfeeding and increase feeding frequency. If she becomes too ill to feed then expressing milk may still be possible.
It the baby becomes too ill to breastfeed then expressed milk should be used.
The risk for swine influenza transmission through breast milk is unknown. However, reports of viraemia with seasonal influenza infection are rare.'
In the event that you or your baby do contract swine flu, you are advised to keep adopt a sensible approach in regards to hygiene. Thus you should:
Wash your hands frequently using soap and water or a sanitiser gel.
Cover your nose and mouth with a clean tissue if you are about to sneeze or cough. Then bin the tissue!