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How To Treat Flu During Pregnancy

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How Should I Treat My Symptoms

How to Treat a Cold During Pregnancy

Call your doctor before you take any over-the-counter treatment.

Your doctor may suggest:

You can usually find these treatments among over-the-counter cold and flu remedies. Check labels carefully.

Your doctor will know what prescription drug you can use. There are 4 to choose from: baloxavir marboxil , oseltamivir , peramivir , or zanamivir in pregnant women with suspected or test-proven flu. Xofluza and oseltamivir are taken by mouth are preferred because of their safety and effectiveness.

Home Remedies For Flu

Since there isnt much you can take to treat the flu while pregnant, home remedies can help make you more comfortable and get you feeling better faster.

Stay well hydrated. Its easy to become dehydrated during pregnancy to begin with, and even easier when youre sick with the flu. Make sure to drink plenty of liquids.

Rest. Being sick takes a lot out of you. Resting allows your body to focus on fighting off the illness, Watkins says.

Cook some chicken soup. Chicken soup is good for more than just the soulits also a great home remedy for flu. A bowl of the steaming broth can help loosen chest congestion, says Julie Lamppa, CNM, APRN, a nurse midwife at the Mayo Clinic, and studies suggest that chicken soup may have a mild anti-inflammatory effect, helping to ease respiratory infections.

Drink lemon and honey tea. Want another easy remedy for breaking up chest congestion? Lamppa suggests adding lemon and honey to a cup of hot water.

Gargle with salt water. It may not be the tastiest of home remedies for flu, but if youre struggling with a sore throat, Lamppa says mixing up a gargle of warm water and salt can help ease the pain.

Use saline nasal sprays. Nasal congestion can also set in with the flu. Luckily, Lamppa says over-the-counter saline sprays and drops are a pregnancy-safe way to help unstuff your nose.

What Are The Medications And Safety Measures For A Pregnant Woman And Her Foetus

Generally speaking, it can be said that the broad principles for treating a cold and the flu apply whether or not a woman is pregnant. However, the drug choice to ease symptoms can sometimes differ and requires greater caution.

First, a salt water solution should be used to relieve sneezing, runny nose and nasal congestion. There are various formulations available at the pharmacy. If this measure is ineffective, the use of certain over-the-counter medications may be considered. If this occurs, be sure to ask your pharmacist for advice.

Unless otherwise instructed by a healthcare professional, acetaminophen can be used to ease muscle pain, sore throat, headache or fever. Do not take other medications to ease symptoms unless recommended by a doctor or pharmacist. Gargling with salt water may help to ease a sore throat.

Dextromethorphan is a good choice to ease a dry and unpleasant cough. Some cough syrups contain an expectorant called guaifenesin. This medication is considered safe, but its effectiveness has not been proven. In this context, it may be better to avoid it altogether.

If you are pregnant, always speak to your pharmacist before taking any medication, including natural health products and supplements. Since many products contain several ingredients, vigilance is key.

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Whatif I Get The Flu While Pregnant

If you are pregnant and think you have theflu, see your doctor as soon as possible. It is recommended that pregnant womenwho have the flu are treated with antiviral medicines because they are at muchhigher risk of complications. Antiviral medicines work best when started within48 hours of symptoms starting.

Important facts for pregnant women:

  • Flu can be lifethreatening for pregnant women and their baby.
  • Flu shots arefree for all pregnant women.
  • A flu shot is thebest way to protect you and your baby against flu.
  • A flu shot willalso protect your baby from flu after birth.
  • Flu shots aresafe for both mother and baby and can be given at any stage of pregnancy.
  • Contact a doctorimmediately if you develop flu symptoms.

How To Treat Cold And Flu During Pregnancy

Cold In Pregnancy

In pregnancy, your body goes through a myriad of changes, both internally, and externally. One of the changes is a reduction in immunity levels. This is very natural as a weaker defense system enables the body to allow the development of a newborn baby inside it.

However, weaker levels of immunity also make her more susceptible to bacterial, and viral infections that lead to pneumonia, sinus, bronchitis, etc. Due to this reason, pregnant women are found to suffer more from cold and flu than non-pregnant women. So, let us know what you can do to treat cold, and flu in pregnancy.

Read Also: Number Of Flu Cases 2020 Usa

Why Is The Flu So Harmful During Pregnancy

The flu can be dangerous during pregnancy because pregnancy affects your immune system, heart and lungs. Your immune system is your bodys way of protecting itself from illnesses and diseases. When your body senses something like a virus that can harm your health, your immune system works hard to fight the virus.

When youre pregnant, your immune system isnt as quick to respond to illnesses as it was before pregnancy. Your body knows that pregnancy is OK and that it shouldnt reject your baby. So, your body naturally lowers the immune systems ability to protect you and respond to illnesses so that it can welcome your growing baby. But a lowered immune system means youre more likely get sick with viruses like the flu.

Another reason the flu can be harmful during pregnancy is that your lungs need more oxygen, especially in the second and third trimesters. Your growing belly puts pressure on your lungs, making them work harder in a smaller space. You may even find yourself feeling shortness of breath at times. Your heart is working hard, too. Its busy supplying blood to you and your baby. All of this means your body is stressed during pregnancy. This stress on your body can make you more likely to get the flu. If youre pregnant or had a baby within the last 2 weeks, youre more likely than other women to have serious health problems from the flu.

Can The Flu Be Dangerous During Pregnancy

Being pregnant definitely puts you at greater risk for the flu’s more serious complications, like pneumonia. In fact, pregnant women are more likely to be hospitalized from complications of the flu than non-pregnant women of the same age .

From the What to Expect editorial team and Heidi Murkoff, author of What to Expect When You’re Expecting. What to Expect follows strict reporting guidelines and uses only credible sources, such as peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions and highly respected health organizations. Learn how we keep our content accurate and up-to-date by reading our medical review and editorial policy.

  • Medically reviewed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, May 2018.
  • What to Expect When You’re Expecting, 5th edition, Heidi Murkoff.

Also Check: What Can Treat The Flu

Cold And Flu During Pregnancy

5-minute read

Colds and flu symptoms can be very similar to the symptoms of COVID-19. Even if your symptoms are mild, get tested for COVID-19 immediately use the colds and flu Symptom Checker if you’re not sure what to do. You can also learn more here about COVID-19 during pregnancy.

Getting the cold or flu when you are pregnant can affect your unborn baby. If you are considering pregnancy or are already pregnant, it is highly recommended that you have the flu vaccination to help protect you and your baby.

How Can I Avoid Getting Flu Or Spreading It

Pregnancy Information : Treating a Cold During Pregnancy

Flu can be spread quickly to other people when someone with flu coughs or sneezes. These germs can live on hands and surfaces for 24 hours. There are certain measures you can take to avoid getting flu or spreading it to other people.

Use tissues over your mouth when you sneeze, then wash your hands with soap and warm water and throw the tissue away. Make sure surfaces that you use regularly, like keyboards and door handles, are kept clean and germ-free .

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What Are Natural Flu Remedies When Youre Pregnant

There are many effective, safe, and natural remedies for the flu during pregnancy. Here is a list of things you can keep on hand in case you become sick:

  • Apple Cider Vinegar Preferably raw, like this brand. ACV alkalinizes the body, and most illnesses cant thrive in alkaline environments.
  • Mix 1-2 tablespoons of ACV into water or tea and drink 3 times a day.
  • Gargle ACV to soothe a sore throat.
  • Used topically or in a bath, ACV can reduce fever.
  • Honey Raw, local honey is antibacterial, antimicrobial, and antiseptic.
  • Onion Raw onion has phytochemicals that help keep the respiratory tract open.
  • Lemon Antibacterial. Also helps alkalinize the body. Rich in vitamin C.
  • Asian Mushrooms Antibacterial and antiviral.
  • Coconut oil Antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal.
  • Blueberries High in natural aspirin, can help lower fevers and relieve aches and pains.
  • Vitamins and minerals Especially vitamin D, vitamin A from cod liver oil or liver only, vitamin C, zinc, and selenium.
  • Clear, unsweetened liquids Dehydration is more of a concern in pregnant women than in non-pregnant women, so being diligent about staying hydrated is important. Coconut water is the perfect hydrator. This natural pedialyte alternative will also boost your electrolytes.
  • Homemade chicken soup Or simply bone broth from healthy chickens.
  • Warm salt water Use as a gargle for a sore throat or with a neti pot for congestion.
  • High quality probiotic Supports general health.
  • What Are The Safe And Unsafe Medications Available For The Treatment

    As per health experts, it is generally advised not to consume any medication in the first trimester of pregnancy. This is because it is the time when major organs of the baby are getting developed. It is best to speak with the doctor before you consume any medication for its treatment.

    Medicines that are considered safe after the first trimester of pregnancy:

    • Menthol based lotion
    • Acetaminophen for fever and body pain
    • Expectorant in daytime
    • Calcium-carbonate for nausea, upset stomach, and heartburn
    • Cough syrup
    • Dextromethorphan and dextromethorphan-guaifenesin cough syrups

    Unsafe medicines that you should avoid throughout your pregnancy

    • Aspirin

    Recommended Reading: Cold And Flu Medicine Safe While Pregnant

    What Can You Do To Feel Better If You Get A Cold During Pregnancy

    Although many of the medications that relieve cold symptoms are typically off-limits during pregnancy, you dont have to suffer with a runny nose and hacking cough when youre pregnant. Some of the most effective cold remedies dont come from the pharmacy shelf. Here’s how to feel better faster:

    What to Expect selects products based on independent research and suggestions from our community of millions of parents learn more about our review process. We may earn commissions from shopping links.

    Is It Safe To Take Medications

    9 Natural Remedies for Flu and Colds during Pregnancy

    Most government health organizations recommend Tylenol to reduce a fever, and Tamiflu or Relenza to treat influenza in pregnant women. A new study, however, shows that pregnant moms who consume Tylenol while pregnant are more likely to have children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Furthermore, Tamiflu and Relenza are Pregnancy Category C medications, meaning that we have no evidence that they are harmful, but no evidence that they are safe either.

    In keeping with the code of the father of Natural Medicine, Hippocrates, we want to first do no harm, and instead fight the flu with substances that arent harmful or risky for baby or mama.

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    Common Cold Symptoms During Pregnancy

    Generally, a cold will start with a sore or scratchy throat lasting about a day or two, followed by the gradual onset of other symptoms which may include:

    • Sneezing
    • Mild fatigue
    • A runny, then later stuffy nose
    • A dry cough, particularly as the cold is ending which may continue for a week or more after the other symptoms have mostly subsided
    • A low-grade fever typically under 100 degrees Fahrenheit

    Cold symptoms usually last between 10 to 14 days. However, if your symptoms persist longer than that time frame or seem to progressively worsen, you should talk to your primary care physician so they can ensure it hasnt turned into something more serious like an infection or the flu.

    Flu Vaccination During Pregnancy

    The flu jab will protect both you and your baby.

    Pregnant women have a much higher chance of developing complications if they get flu, particularly in the later stages of pregnancy. One of the most common complications of flu is bronchitis, a chest infection that can become serious and develop into pneumonia. Other complications are not common, but include:

    • middle ear infection
    • blood infection that causes a severe drop in blood pressure
    • infection of the brain and spinal cord
    • inflammation of the brain
    • Inflammation of the heart muscle

    If you have flu while you’re pregnant, it could mean your baby is born prematurely or has a low birthweight, and can even lead to stillbirth or death in the first week of life.

    Getting the flu vaccine is safe during any stage of pregnancy, from the first few weeks up to your expected due date. The vaccine doesnt carry risks for either you or your baby.

    Women who have had the flu vaccine while pregnant also pass some protection on to their babies, which lasts for the first 6 months of their lives.

    The vaccine also poses no risk to women who are breastfeeding, or to their babies.

    The flu vaccine is free for pregnant women as part of the National Immunisation Program.

    Read more about what vaccinations are safe during pregnancy.

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    Important Things To Lower Pregnancy Risk

    Remain updated about the flu vaccination schedule. Flu vaccination helps to lower the possibilities of infection and complications caused by it. It is recommended for pregnant women to get these vaccinations to stay protected for six months.

    Best practices to lessen your chances of getting sick:

    • Wash your hands frequently
    • Avoid coming in contact with friends, and family
    • Exercise regularly
    • Reduce stress

    What Are Signs And Symptoms Of The Flu

    How should I treat the flu when pregnant?

    Signs of a condition are things someone else can see or know about you, like you have a rash or youre coughing. Symptoms are things you feel yourself that others cant see, like having a sore throat or feeling dizzy. Common signs and symptoms of the flu include:

    • Being very tired or sleepy
    • Cough
    • Fever , chills or body shakes. Not everyone who has the flu has a fever.
    • Sore throat
    • Vomiting or diarrhea

    The flu often comes on quickly. Fever and most other symptoms can last a week or longer. But some people can be sick from the flu for a long time, including children, people older than 65, pregnant women and women who have recently had a baby.

    • Feeling your baby move less or not at all
    • High fever that doesnt go down after taking acetaminophen . Dont take any medicine without checking with your provider first.
    • Pain or pressure in the chest or belly
    • Sudden dizziness or confusion
    • Trouble breathing or shortness of breath
    • Vomiting thats severe or doesnt stop
    • Flu signs or symptoms that get better but then come back with fever and a worse cough

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    This Flu Season Was Milder Than Pre

    Last year, infectious disease experts warned that this years flu season could be severe since the population essentially lost a year of immunity due to the abnormally mild flu season recorded in 2020 and 2021.

    However, while more flu was going around this season than the 2020-2021 flu season, the burden of flu transmission, hospitalizations, and deaths has been significantly lower than in pre-pandemic flu seasons.

    This season, influenza picked up between November and January then, cases plummeted.

    That still has all of us puzzled. We anticipated that we would have a moderately severe flu season, but all of a sudden, it stopped in its tracks, Schaffner said.

    During the week ending March 26, 2022, the hospitalization rate in the CDCs FluSurv-NET system was 7.2 per 100,000 population, which was higher than the rate for the entire 2020-2021 season, says Brammer, but lower than the hospitalization rate recorded at the same time during the four seasons preceding the COVID-19 pandemic.

    The hospitalization rate ranged from 52.5 to 96.1 per 100,000 during the 2016-17 through 2019-20 seasons, says Brammer.

    Preliminary flu burden estimates suggest 3.5 5.8 million people have contracted the flu, between 34,000 69,000 people were hospitalized with flu, and around 2,000 5,800 people have died from flu.

    Schaffner expects flu activity to dissipate during April, as it typically does. But its difficult to predict how a flu season will play out.

    Are There Safe Medications For Flu During Pregnancy

    The US government has approved the use of the following three antiviral medications to treat flu in pregnant women or mothers who have recently delivered their babies . Your doctor might prescribe them based on the necessity of medicines for your condition.

  • Oseltamivir
    • Dosage: One 600mg dose by intravenous injection for 15-30 minutes
    • The medicine is only delivered intravenously through a needle

    Do not take any medicines without consulting the doctor if you are a pregnant or nursing woman. If you develop fever, ask your healthcare provider if you can take acetaminophen. Small, frequent meals, ample rest, and plenty of fluids can help you feel better.

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