Doctor Mike: Flu, Pregnancy And Autism - FOX 29 News Philadelphia | WTXF-TV

Doctor Mike: Flu, Pregnancy And Autism

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A scary new study out there is related to the flu and autism.

It says that mothers-to-be who experienced flu symptoms had a higher risk of having a child with early on-set autism.

The University of Pennsylvania's Dr. Mike Cirigliano joined "Good Day" on Tuesday morning to explain more about what the study found.

"This is one of those things I don't want anyone to panic about," Dr. Mike said.

Even the study's authors say the risk is very low.

"Look, I'm saying to everyone out there, if you get the flu and you're pregnant, don't panic. What you need to do, to take home, from this study is that, one, you should get a flu shot."

"And No. 2, I think it comes down to the fact that we're learning more about what can cause autism from this," Dr. Mike said. "Because it might be an immune thing – you know, you get a fever, you're sick when you're pregnant, it can stimulate the immune system and cause problems with the developing child. And that may be a clue as to what leads to autism."

Asked again whether pregnant women should get the flu shot, Dr. Mike's answer: "Yes, yes, yes."

The flu shot is not 100 percent effective – it's more like 50 to 60 percent effective – but "it's better than nothing," he said.

Plus, do you really need to fast before you get your cholesterol checked? A new study finds that fasting might not be necessary.

Dr. Mike offered his advice on this one, too.

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