Thursday, September 28, 2023

How To Treat Flu While Pregnant

Must read

What Is B Type Flu

Best Otc Cold And Flu Meds

Flu Shot Discount Card Cvs

Can I Take Ibuprofen For Flu

Kaiser Flu Shot Rohnert Park

What Is Flu In Pregnancy

How can I treat a cold while pregnant?

Influenza is a common respiratory infection that mostly occurs in winter. Its caused by a virus that easily travels from person to person. When someone with the flu coughs, sneezes or speaks, the virus spreads through the air and on surfaces.

Flu during pregnancy is more likely to cause severe illness than flu in nonpregnant people. Pregnant people who get the flu are also more likely to be hospitalized for treatment. If you’re pregnant and have the flu or flu-like symptoms, see your healthcare provider.

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.

Am I More Likely To Catch A Cold During Pregnancy

In short, the answer is yes.

“The way our bodies work when we’re pregnant is that our immune system changes and is effectively suppressed and that’s to help protect the pregnancy, but what that does means is that we’re more susceptible to viruses and bacterial infections, so catching things like a cold,” says obstetrician and gynaecologist Dr Ellie Rayner, founder of The Maternity Collective.

“Also, the reason you may be more likely to get a cold or chest infection is because as your bump grows and your pregnancy progresses there’s an increasing amount of pressure on your diaphragm and also your lungs, reducing your ability to take deep breaths.

“What that means is that you’re more likely to collect bacteria at the bottom of your lungs and when you’re pregnant you’re not able to take such deep breaths and clear your lungs, which is why you can be more susceptible to nasty chest infections like flu or pneumonia.”

Recommended Reading: How Old Is The Flu Shot

How Can The Flu Harm Your Pregnancy

Health complications from the flu, like a lung infection called pneumonia, can be serious and even deadly, especially if youre pregnant. If you get the flu during pregnancy, youre more likely than other adults to have serious complications. Its best to get a flu shot before you get pregnant. Getting a flu shot can help reduce your risk of getting the flu, having serious flu complications and needing treatment in a hospital.

Pregnant women who get the flu are more likely than women who dont get it to have preterm labor and premature birth (birth that happens before 37 weeks of pregnancy. Fever from the flu may be linked to birth defects, like neural tube defects, and other problems in your baby. A birth defect is a health condition that is present at birth. Birth defects change the shape or function of one or more parts of the body. They can cause problems in overall health, how the body develops, or in how the body works. Neural tube defects are birth defects of the brain and spinal cord.

How Soon After Treatment For Flu During Pregnancy Will I Start To Feel Better

Flu During Pregnancy

If your healthcare provider prescribes an antiviral, you should start to notice symptom improvement within a day or two. Over-the-counter pain and fever medications can start helping right away.

You should notice an improvement in your symptoms within five to seven days. If you dont start feeling better after a week, call your provider.

Don’t Miss: Where Are Flu Vaccines Made

Causes Of Cold And Cough During Pregnancy

Colds and coughs are common viral infections of the upper respiratory tract that affect your nose, throat, sinuses, and upper airways. There are over 200 viruses that can give rise to cold symptoms, of which the rhinovirus is perhaps the most usual suspect.

This infection is easily transmitted from person to person, and the symptoms usually persist for a week, although an accompanying cough can go on for about 3 weeks.

Unlike in a bacterial infection, regular antibiotics are rendered ineffective against viral infections. Thus, a common cold is one such mild infection with no established cure or antidote. Many times, you have to wait out the duration of the cold, using home remedies to relieve your symptoms.

During pregnancy, the womans immune system functions at a slower pace. This diminished immune response is a natural and necessary body mechanism to prevent the immune system from targeting the growing fetus with antibodies, as it would any other foreign entity.

However, the mother carrying the fetus ends up bearing the brunt of this compromised immunity as it makes it is easier for a gestating woman to contract a cold or a cough, which may then last longer than if she were not pregnant. These changes in the immune system can also affect the womans heart and lungs, making her more susceptible to severe illness arising from the flu.

How Should I Treat My Symptoms

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.

You May Like: Cold And Flu Medicine Behind The Counter

What Other Natural Mamas Say About The Flu During Pregnancy

  • Hands down, Ive had the most success treating, as well as preventing the flu during pregnancy, with homemade elderberry extract. Lisa Green McIntyre
  • Lots of garlic and ginger every day, flu symptoms were gone after 3 days Nathalia Sastoque Rueda
  • Just had it two weeks ago, at 16 weeks pregnant. The best remedy was sleep! I also drank a lot of water and diffused oils by my bedside, as well as putting them on my feet. I had a fever, aches and chills for a day, then after that it was mostly rebuilding my energy from not eating enough.
  • Sleep and water, water, water. I drank a gallon and a half the last time I was sick during pregnancy. I didnt force it, just drank when thirsty and the next day I had a productive cough. Also apple cider vinegar for fever. Katie Harshman
  • Sleep, humidifier, and I took raw garlic, apple cider vinegar, juiced carrots, tea, elderberry syrup and all kinds of healthy things like that. Sarah Booher

When Does Nasal Congestion Usually Start During Pregnancy

How should I treat the flu when pregnant?

Pregnancy rhinitis can start at any point in pregnancy, but it typically appears in the 13th or 21st week. It can last six weeks or longer, with many people experiencing it until after delivery. Usually, it will disappear within two weeks of giving birth.

It can take a while to identify pregnancy rhinitis. Typically, a doctor will diagnose the condition by conducting a physical examination, taking blood tests, and reviewing the patients medical history.

Recommended Reading: How Many Days Can You Test Positive For The Flu

What Are The Symptoms Of A Cold During Pregnancy

A cold usually begins with a sore or scratchy throat that lasts for a day or two, followed by the gradual appearance of other symptoms, including:

  • A runny, then later stuffy, nose
  • Sneezing
  • Mild fatigue
  • A dry cough, particularly near the colds end, which may continue for a week or more after other symptoms have subsided
  • Low-grade fever

Is It Dangerous To Have A Cold Or The Flu During Pregnancy

When a cold strikes during pregnancy, it does not really represent a health risk to the mother or her unborn child, even if it momentarily compromises the well-being and quality of life of the person affected by it.

The same cannot be said about the flu , which carries serious complication risks throughout pregnancy. These complications may result in respiratory problems and lead to hospitalization. In the worst cases, there is a risk of premature labour and even the death of the mother or foetus.

Canadian public health authorities recommend that all pregnant women be vaccinated against influenza, regardless of the stage of their pregnancy, to prepare for flu season . Additionally, it is advisable to treat pregnant women with antiviral medication if they have the flu. You should see a doctor if you think you have the flu.

Both a cold and the flu are contagious viral respiratory infections. Therefore, they cannot be treated with an antibiotic, unless they are accompanied by a bacterial infection such as otitis, sinusitis, bronchitis or pneumonia.

The best way to prevent these types of infections is to adopt effective hygiene measures, such as frequent handwashing and physical distancing. It is also important to avoid close contact with infected persons.

Recommended Reading: Flu Shot Clinics In Ri

How Can You Stop The Flu From Spreading

When you have the flu, you can spread it to others. Heres what you can do to help prevent it from spreading:

  • Stay home when youre sick and limit contact with others.
  • Dont kiss anyone.
  • Cough or sneeze into a tissue or into your arm. Throw used tissues in the trash.
  • Try not to touch your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water before touching anyone. You also can use alcohol-based hand sanitizers. Use enough hand sanitizer so that it takes at least 15 seconds for your hands to dry.
  • Use hot, soapy water or a dishwasher to wash your dishes and utensils.
  • Dont share your dishes, glasses, utensils or toothbrush.

Flu Remedies For Pregnancy

Treating a Cold or Flu When Pregnant

If you have the flu, all you want to do is pop a Nyquil and drift off to a long nights sleep. During pregnancy, most combination medications like that are off-limits. Take heartthere are some home remedies that provide real relief:

  • Take a hot shower, or breathe warm, humid air from a facial steamer to help a cough.
  • Gargle with warm salt water if you have a sore throat or cough.
  • Drink hot tea with honey and lemon to soothe a stuffy nose and sore throat.
  • Use a saline rinse to loosen nasal congestion and mucus.
  • Apply warm and cool compresses for muscle aches and sinus pain.
  • Hydrate with warm broths and eat bland food if youre having stomach issues.
  • Rest as much as possible.

Getting the flu during pregnancy does have risks, but proper communication with your healthcare providers can help you feel better in a safe way. And if you havent yet, get your flu vaccination. Then you can ensure that your pregnancy is as healthy and worry-free as possible .

Don’t Miss: How To Get Checked For Flu

Symptoms Of Nasal Congestion During Pregnancy

If you have nasal congestion that lasts only a week or slightly longer, its likely due to a cold. You may experience the usual symptoms that come with nasal congestion, such as ear pain, fevers, headaches, facial pain, mild body aches, bad breath, and itchy eyes, mouth, throat, or nose. Because pregnancy weakens the immune system, colds are common for people who are expecting.

However, if symptoms of congestion last longer, it may be due to a condition called pregnancy rhinitis. Signs include sneezing, painful sinuses, ear fluid buildup, and general feelings of congestion. Some people with pregnancy rhinitis experience nosebleeds from constantly blowing and scratching their nose.

This common condition can last for six weeks or longer, and it usually goes away after delivery. Pregnancy rhinitis occurs in around 39 percent of all pregnancies.

Is It Safe To Get A Flu Shot During Pregnancy

Its safe for most pregnant women to get the flu shot. Tell your health care provider if you have any severe allergies or if youve ever had a severe allergic reaction to a flu shot. Severe allergic reactions to flu shots are rare. If youre worried about being allergic to the flu shot, talk to your provider to make sure its safe for you.

Some flu vaccines are made with eggs. Most women with egg allergies can get the flu shot. But if you have severe egg allergies, get the shot in a medical setting from a provider who knows how to treat severe allergies and allergic reactions.

Pregnant women should not get the flu nasal spray. This is a spray thats put in your nose.

Recommended Reading: Can You Take Flu Shot Twice

The Last Thing A Pregnant Woman Needs Is To Catch The Flu But During This Cold Weather This Might Be Inevitable For Many

Treating colds and flu during pregnancy is not the most fun when you are prohibited from using the usual over-the-counter medications.

During pregnancy, a womans immune system is suppressed, which makes her easily susceptible to catching colds. The suppression, however, helps the baby grow and stay protected.

It is possible to avoid catching colds and flu, but during winter it is a lot harder. Pregnant women can avoid colds and flu by:

  • Avoiding contact with visibly sick people
  • Washing and sanitising hands regularly

Even with social distancing and sanitising, some expecting moms might still catch one of the 200 viruses that cause a cold or, worse, the influenza virus. According to National Health Institute, flu symptoms are much worse than a cold and more sudden.

According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention flu symptoms include:

  • Fever and chills
  • Runny nose
  • Headaches

If you come down with these symptoms and are pregnant, here are some tips to help relieve your symptoms which might last for five to seven days.

What Cold Medicines Are Not Safe During Pregnancy

Colds and Pregnancy | Shane Reeves, MD, Maternal and Fetal Medicine | UCHealth

There are a few medications that are generally not safe to take if you’re pregnant. Before starting any new medications, always check with your healthcare provider first.

Intranasal corticosteroids

Avoid triamcinolone . Studies suggest that this nasal spray is linked to birth defects. These defects were specifically in the nasal passages.

Oral decongestants

Some studies show a higher risk of birth defects with oral pseudoephedrine and phenylephrine during pregnancy. But a study of over 4,000 pregnant women taking oral decongestants, found no greater risk. Overall, the safety of phenylephrine during pregnancy is not certain. And ACOG recommends avoiding pseudoephedrine in the first trimester. Talk to your healthcare provider if you need a decongestant at any time during pregnancy.


Intranasal decongestants deliver medication only where its needed: the nose. There isnt much research on this nasal spray in pregnancy. One study showed that there might be a link between Afrin and birth defects. Always check with your healthcare provider before using Afrin or any decongestant. Afrin shouldn’t be used for more than three consecutive days. Using the spray longer can cause a stuffy nose to get worse .

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs

Syrups containing ethanol

Syrups containing natural sugars

Combination products

Recommended Reading: Meds To Take For Flu

Will Having A Cold Affect The Baby

Having a cold during pregnancy will not usually affect the fetus. Colds are mild illnesses that a persons immune system can handle relatively easily.

Having a cold during pregnancy will not usually affect the fetus. Colds are mild illnesses that a persons immune system can handle relatively easily.However, the persons temperature and infections can affect the fetus. If a person is experiencing a fever or other signs of infection, it is essential to speak with a doctor immediately to find the best way to reduce these symptoms.

When a person is pregnant, their body deals with a cold in much the same way as it does at any other time. The symptoms are temporary, and in most cases, the cold will be gone in 710 days.

If someone experiences the following symptoms during pregnancy, they should talk to a doctor right away:

  • a fever of over 100.4° F
  • severe or unusual symptoms

Safe Home Remedies For Cold And Cough During Pregnancy

A cold or a cough is never a welcome ailment, but it is especially uncomfortable in pregnancy when you cannot safely take the usual over-the-counter medications to relieve the symptoms. To make matters worse, the infection-associated discomfort seems far more taxing when you are already in such a vulnerable state than it would otherwise.

During pregnancy, when your protective maternal instincts kick in full throttle, its quite natural to stress about every minor inconvenience and health hiccup that you may face in terms of its repercussions on your unborn babys growth and well-being.

However, expecting mothers can heave a sigh of relief after knowing that the case of their sniffles will have no bearing on fetal development as the baby is cocooned inside the womb, which is beyond the reach of the virus.


  • When to See a Doctor
  • Also Check: Flu Shot In Rite Aid Pharmacy

    More articles

    Popular Articles