Health Watch -- Preventing Viruses

Health Watch is a Public Service of the Office of News and Publications and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.

With the shortage of flu vaccine, we've heard a lot lately about how important it is to wash your hands to prevent infection. Doctors at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas say pregnant women should be especially diligent about washing their hands because of another virus.

Parvovirus is a viral infection spread by coughing and sneezing. It's common among school children and children in day care, and it can spread to adults. The virus causes flushed cheeks and a fever, but in pregnant women, the results can be more dangerous. It can cause a severely affected fetus that needs a blood transfusion in utero.

You can lower your risk for catching this illness by washing your hands frequently and avoiding sick children. Doctors recommend that you rub your hands with soap under warm water for at least 30 seconds for a thorough handwashing.


Nov. 2004

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