Ardmore hospital limits newborn visits due to flu - KTEN.com - Texoma news, weather and sports

Ardmore hospital limits newborn visits due to flu

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Children are being restricted from Mercy Hospital's newborn unit. (KTEN) Children are being restricted from Mercy Hospital's newborn unit. (KTEN)

ARDMORE, Okla. -- With a recent increase in the number of flu patients, Mercy Hospital isn't taking any chances when it comes to pregnant women and newborns.

The Ardmore medical center is no longer letting children younger than 12 visit the newborn unit.

"The pregnant females are at increased risk if they get the flu, influenza infection," said Dr. Pranjal Desai, an obstetrician and gynecologist. He said if a pregnant woman contracts the virus, it could bring unwelcome changes to her unborn child.

"Change in the immunity, change in the heart function, change in the lung functions if they get infected with the influenza virus," he explained.

The baby can also be affected by the virus if it's contracted, and not just from the disease. Dr. Desai said medicine used to treat the flu or any disease the woman might contract could be bad for her baby.

"And they are hospitalized for a long time, and they are given the antibiotics that sort of starts affecting the baby's growth and can also sometimes bring the pre-timed labor," he said.

Desai added that it is important for women to get a flu shot to reduce their risk of becoming infected.

"All the pregnant women at any time during the pregnancy should get a flu vaccine," he said. 

For now, Mercy Hospital has no other visitor restrictions, but that could change depending on the progress of the flu outbreak.

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