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Infections and Pregnancy

Infections during pregnancy can cause severe illness in a mother and also put her unborn baby at risk.

For most women there is very little cause for concern. Women are often exposed to infections at a much younger age and therefore have immunity.

Note: It is not recommended that all pregnant women exclude themselves from a workplace where a viral outbreak is occurring. The decision to stay away from the workplace is a personal deci¬sion for a woman to make after discussion with her doctor and employer.

Following these simple guidelines can considerably prevent infections:

Practice good hand hygiene

This is important if you are exposed to small children on a regu¬lar basis, and especially important if you are directly involved in handling children (i.e. diapering or coming in contact with saliva, mucous, urine or feces). It is not necessary to stop working with small children; just practice good personal hygiene.

Wash hands with warm water and soap:

  • before eating and preparing food.
  • after using the toilet, changing diapers or providing personal care to others.
  • anytime they become contaminated.

Note: Waterless hand sanitizing gels are an excellent addition to hand washing or in times when soap and water is not available.

Handle food safely

Meat should be cooked according to the following guidelines:

  • Whole poultry – 82°C/180°F
  • Food mixture that includes poultry, egg, meat, fish – 74°C/165°F
  • Pork, ground meat other than poultry – 71°C/160°F.

Wash counters and other surfaces that have come in contact with raw meat and sanitize with bleach / water solution – 1.5 tablespoons of unscented household bleach to 2 gallons of water.

Wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly before cooking and/or eating.

Do not eat the following foods which may contain bacteria or viruses:

  • Raw meat or fish.
  • Under cooked egg or egg products.
  • Raw or unpasteurized milk or cheese made from unpasteur¬ized milk.
  • Unpasteurized fruit or vegetable juices such as apple cider

Wear gloves when working in the garden.

Avoid touching your mouth while working, and thoroughly wash your hands after removing the gloves.

Avoid cleaning kitty litter boxes.

Cat feces can be a source of toxoplasmosis.

Stay away from wild or pet rodents and their droppings.

Have a pest control professional get rid of pests in or around your home. If you have a pet rodent, like a hamster or guinea pig, have someone else care for it until after your baby arrives. Some rodents might carry a harmful virus called Lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus.

Determine your immunity to:

  • Rubella (German measles) and Chickenpox.

A simple blood test can determine if you are immune. If you are not immune, a vaccination may be recommended to prevent the disease. If you have any questions or concerns, please visit the Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit website at www.hnhu.org.