Pregnant mothers’ exposure to the flu was associated with a nearly fourfold increased risk that their child would develop bipolar disorder in adulthood, in a study funded by the National Institutes of Health. The findings add to mounting evidence of possible shared underlying causes and illness processes with schizophrenia, which some studies have also linked to prenatal exposure to influenza.
According to new surveillance statistics released on Friday from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), forty-seven states in the U.S. are now reporting widespread influenza activity . The virus, which first appeared in the Southeast, has reached epidemic levels.
Walmart and Sam’s Club (a division of Wal-Mart Stores) recently announced the launch of expanded immunization services across the United States, signaling the company’s expansion into healthcare services [1, 2]. In partnership with Mollen Immunization Clinics, ten of the CDC-recommended immunizations will be offered in more than 2,700 Walmart stores and 554 Sam’s Club pharmacy locations.
During pregnancy, women need to take special care to avoid becoming ill. There are several reasons for this. The first is that a pregnant woman’s immune system is not as strong during pregnancy as it generally is; this helps to prevent the mother’s body from attacking the developing fetus. Unfortunately, however, the weakened immune system also means that pregnant mothers are more susceptible to pathogens that they’d otherwise fight off relatively easily. Increased susceptibility aside, there’s also the concern that some illnesses — influenza included — can impact the developing fetus. Finally, there’s the simple fact that many of the medications used to treat illnesses and their accompanying symptoms aren’t appropriate for pregnant women.