Fighting Flu, One Text4baby Mom At A Time

October 16th, 2013

Cool weather. Colorful leaves. And the arrival of influenza, with flu protection joining the “to do” lists of busy moms everywhere. It’s fall! And it’s the time of year we’re especially excited about the potential of our text4baby service to help pregnant women, new moms, and their babies stay healthy.

The nation’s largest mobile health information service, text4baby has reached more than 630,000 women since its launch in 2010, providing free health and safety information at mom’s fingertips. During flu season, text4baby messages include immunization reminders and resources. And this year, a new partnership is expanding access to flu shots for mothers across the country.

HMHB just announced Rite Aid as the first text4baby national retail partner, and we’re working together to connect more women to health and safety information. In celebration, Rite Aid is providing 10,000 free flu shots to text4baby mothers this season.

Through a customized version of the service, circular ads, in-store displays, social media, and outreach from Wellness Ambassadors, Rite Aid is sharing text4baby and helping moms enroll. Women who text BABY or BEBE to 511411 will receive three free text messages per week throughout their pregnancy and baby’s first year, in English or Spanish, personalized to mom’s due date or baby’s birth date.

On October 15th, text4baby notified women enrolled in the service that Rite Aid is providing free flu shots to text4baby moms. Those who want to participate simply text a reply and receive a unique code for redeeming a free flu shot at any Rite Aid location.

This effort really matters. Flu shots are vitally important for pregnant women and can protect moms-to-be and their unborn babies, even extending to the protection of baby’s newborn health. Because of changes in the immune system, heart, and lungs during pregnancy, pregnant women are at increased risk of severe illness and flu complications. When an expectant mom gets sick with the flu, she faces increased risk of hospitalization and, in extreme cases, maternal death. The baby of a pregnant women who gets sick with the flu is also at risk, facing increased risk for miscarriage or preterm birth.

Flu shots for all moms (and dads, extended family, and caregivers) are also vital to keeping infants healthy. Babies are at increased risk for serious health complications from the flu. And since they can’t receive the flu vaccine until six months of age,  they depend on the immunization of those around them for protection against the spread of the virus.

This flu season, we’re in it together. Will you join us in telling pregnant women and new moms about the text4baby service and the Rite Aid partnership?