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Pregnant and diagnosed with influenza A: Gayathri shares her story

At over 20 weeks pregnant, she was diagnosed with Influenza A. Read her story, including the tips she has to share with other pregnant mums and parents.

With the increase in the cases of the viral flu these days, and due to the potential health risk it poses to everyone - in particular children and pregnant mothers - theAsianparent Sri Lanka has been bringing you informative articles on this condition.

We've also been encouraging parents to share their own battle stories with our readers so that they may learn valuable, parent-to-parent tips on managing this viral infection. 

Gayathri reached out to us with her personal tale of contracting Influenza A* while pregnant, with the hope that it serves both as a cautionary and educational story to other parents and pregnant mums out there. 

Gayathri's Story

I am a mother of a 20 month old toddler and currently 22 weeks pregnant. Due to my maternity checkups I happened to visit two leading hospitals for my anomaly scan and blood tests. At the same time during the same week my daughter fell ill.

I started to sneeze a lot during the same week and then experienced a runny nose with mild temperature.

Soon, I started throwing up and felt feeble. By that time my daughter had recovered from the common viral flu.

My temperature was going up, however I had not visited the doctor yet as I was scared of potential infections from hospitals and clinics. On the third day since my symptoms started, I booked an appointment with my gynaecologist.

She suspected I had contracted influenza and asked me to get a Nasopharyngeal Swab Collection test done. I cooperated with the lab technicians but because I had not eaten anything for one whole day, I was feeling dizzy and very unwell in general and feared for my pregnancy too. 

My results were out that evening - I tested positive for Influenza type A. During my morning check up with the gynecologist she had recommended two general physicians should I be tested positive for influenza so I tried to consult them, however they were not available. 

Then I had to immediately rush to hospital and check on who was available and there was one general physician available. The waiting period to see him was quite long, so I spoke to his nurse and gave my reports so that the doctor can attend to me urgently. But the doctor was not ready to take me in as he was not sure about how to treat my condition.  

So we had to wait another two hours for another general physician, he was fully booked too. But after we showed our reports to the nurse, the doctor called me in immediately giving me preference over the other booked patients, as he genuinely understood the seriousness of my case.  

He asked me to get admitted saying my pregnancy complicated things, and that that I would need to be treated at the hospital itself. 

After two nights I was discharged as my fever and phlegm had gone and I started to eat and feel much better. Thankfully, my baby was not affected and I feel very fortunate to have come out of this experience still healthy. 

What I learnt about prevention of influenza and tips for other mums during recovery

  • During my stay at the hospitals there were no visitors and once I went home I did not handle my toddler.
  • I wore a mask all the time as the doctor advised me that I could still pass the virus to others. 
  • Pregnant mums should really avoid going out given the pandemic nature of this virus. 
  • If you are pregnant and must go out, always wear a mask. 
  • Wash your hands well and often, use a sanitiser and avoid touching your mouth and nose. 
  • If you are pregnant and start to experience cold symptoms, avoid home remedies and over-the-counter drugs. Instead, head to your gynaecologist or doctor immediately. 
  • The faster you get diagnosed, the better your chances are of a quick recovery. Remember that X-rays are not permitted during pregnancy so if you get an upper respiratory infection, it will be tough to find out the extent and seriousness of the infection. 
  • Try to avoid visiting OPD doctors as most of them are not ready to treat you for influenza if you are pregnant. Do contact theAsianparent Sri Lanka via a Facebook message if you would like the details of the professor who treated me. 
  • The moment you start to experience flu-like symptoms, avoid handling babies and children. 

My final message to all of you reading this is not to underestimate the seriousness of this flu, especially when it affects pregnant mums and little ones. Take the necessary precautions and do not wait to seek medical advice should you start to experience symptoms and are pregnant. 

*Flu (influenza) viruses are divided into three broad categories: influenza A, B or C. Influenza A is the most common type. H1N1 flu is a variety of influenza A and can be much more serious if contracted by a pregnant mum or child, than the other strains. 

theAsianparent Sri Lanka would like to thank Gayathri for sharing her story. We welcome you to contact us via Facebook if you too would like to share an experience - medical or otherwise - that you think might be useful to other parents to know about.