Flu During Pregnancy Linked to Autism, Says Survey

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"Any episode of fever may be mistaken for influenza, and not all women infected with influenza virus might have been aware of this," the researchers wrote. "The association between antibiotics and autism is a novel finding, which requires confirmation."

Not all cases of high fever require antibiotics, said Hyman.

"Clinicians caring for pregnant women should use antibiotics judiciously for suspected bacterial illness," said Hyman. "Antibiotics are not necessary for the common cold and uncomplicated viral infections."

Although many medications are off-limits during pregnancy, pregnant women with high fever or the flu should consult with their physician about the right course of treatment, especially natural products that are advertised to boost immunity, Hyman said.

"Pregnant women who have a mild viral illness should respond with conventional care," said Hyman. "High doses of some supplements and unregulated products may have other effects on the fetus."

In general, women can build their immunity by simply getting the flu shot, according to Boyle. The shot not only protect the mother against certain strains of the flu, but also protects the baby for up to six months after birth.

"This is flu vaccine season so pregnant women should get the flu vaccine immediately," said Boyle.

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