Herbs For Cold & Flu Safe During Pregnancy
Before you take flu and cold medicine while pregnant, use the following list of safe herbs to help cure what ails you.
The following list contains herbs that are safe both in preconception and pregnancy. If you are in this phase of your life, it is good to keep these herbs on hand for making teas or tinctures.
The root and/or flower and leaves of this plant are specialists at combatting infection. Note: Echinacea is best taken when there is a problem rather than as a preventative, especially when trying to conceive or when pregnant.
The berry of this shrub is made into syrups, teas, jellies, and even wine. They have been clinically proven to be effective against many strains of the flu. Elder will shorten the time of illness and reduce the severity of symptoms.
Cold Medications For Pregnancy And Breastfeeding
Selecting a cold medication while pregnant or breastfeeding that is going to be safe for both you and your baby can be stressful and overwhelming.
Here, you’ll find answers to your questions and information about common ingredients found in cold medicines that are considered safe for you and your baby.
Which Cold Medicines Are Safe During Pregnancy
A variety of cough and cold medications are available at your local pharmacy. But it can be overwhelming to figure out which ones are safe to take while pregnant. Different medications target different cold symptoms. Pinpointing your specific symptoms can help you decide which medications to take.
Research on cough and cold medications during pregnancy is limited. Some research suggests that certain medications should be avoided during the first trimester. This is because the first trimester is an important time of development for your baby. And you dont want anything to interfere with that process.
Below, well cover different medications that can be used for various cold symptoms. Always ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist before taking any medications while pregnant. If you need medications, take the lowest amount needed to relieve your symptoms. And only take them for the shortest period of time possible.
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Flu Remedies For Pregnancy
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 .
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.
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These Surprising Safer Alternatives May Be A Better Choice
Mothers-to-be get headaches and upset stomachs just like everyone else. So its not surprising that most pregnant women have used over-the-counter medications. In fact, some data suggest that, overall, women are actually more likely to use certain medicationsincluding cough and cold drugs and acetaminophen after they become pregnant.
Theres a misperception that if a drug is available over-the-counter, that its approved by the Food and Drug Administration, so it must be safe for everyone, including pregnant women, Allen Mitchell, M.D. professor of pediatrics and epidemiology at the Boston University School of Public Health and Medicine, said. Even doctors may think this is the case. But some OTC drugs have been shown to pose risks to the developing fetus at different stages of pregnancy.
To help you and your doctor make more informed choices about which medications to take, weve identified 10 common ingredients used in OTC drugs that are risky for pregnant women, as well as safer alternatives.
Even then, you should use alternatives judiciously, and only as advised by your health care provider. Experts refer to safer medications because for 98 percent of prescription and OTC drugs, there simply isnt enough data to say for sure that a drug is entirely safe to take during pregnancy. Due to ethical concerns, most FDA-approved medicines have not been tested in pregnant women.
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What Are Signs And Symptoms Of The Flu
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
- 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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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:
- 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.
Safety Of Nyquil Ingredients In Pregnancy
Some Nyquil medications are safe to use during pregnancy and some are not. It all depends on the ingredients found in each. You should not take NyQuil Severe Cold & Flu if youre pregnant. Use of its active ingredient in early pregnancy may be linked with some birth defects. You should also talk to your doctor before using the liquid forms of NyQuil Cold & Flu and NyQuil Cough during pregnancy.
The active ingredients in Nyquil products are listed in the chart below. Alcohol is an inactive ingredient, but it can also affect pregnancy.
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What Side Effects Have Pregnant People Experienced From Flu Shots
The most common side effects experienced by pregnant people are the same as those experienced by other people. They are generally mild and include:
- Soreness, redness, and/or swelling from the shot
If side effects occur, they usually begin soon after the shot is given and generally last for 1-2 days.
A flu shot, like other injections, can occasionally cause fainting. Rarely, flu shots can cause serious problems like severe allergic reactions. Anyone with a severe, life-threatening allergy to any of the vaccine ingredients should not get the shot.
Can I Take Cold Medicine While Pregnant Or Breastfeeding
There are certain cold medicines that are considered safe to take while you are pregnant or breastfeeding. The safety of using over-the-counter cold medication while pregnant or breastfeeding depends on the specific medicines within the products, how far along you are in your pregnancy, and any other medical conditions you may have. You should only use cold medicines for the shortest time possible to help with your symptoms. Always be sure to check with your health care provider or pharmacist before taking any over-the-counter cold medicines during pregnancy or while breastfeeding.
The American Pregnancy Association recommends limiting the amount of over-the-counter cold medicines you take and trying certain home remedies to alleviate symptoms. They promote washing your hands regularly, drinking plenty of fluids, getting ample amounts of rest, eating well, and only using medications to treat the symptoms you are experiencing. As a home remedy for sinus congestion, they recommend using a humidifier, keeping your head elevated on a pillow while resting, and/or using adhesive nasal strips. For sore throat, they recommend sucking on ice chips, drinking warm herbal tea , or gargling warm salt water.1
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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
Medications To Avoid During Pregnancy
Some of the medications that could help with flu symptoms when youre not pregnant are off the table for moms-to-be because they may cause harm to the unborn baby. These include:
- Some pain relievers. Aspirin, ibuprofen , or naproxen aren’t safe during pregnancy because they can be harmful to Mom and baby.
- Most decongestants. Decongestants like Claritin-D, Sudafed or DayQuil should be avoided when youre expecting . Even those experts who say its okay to take certain decongestants will caution that its only safe to use after the first trimester and only as long as its used in a limited amount.
- Some nasal sprays. Steer clear of nonsteroidal nasal decongestant sprays containing oxymetazoline unless given the green light by your practitioner. Many will tell you to avoid these sprays completely while you’re expecting, while others will advise only limited use after the first trimester.
- Homeopathic remedies. Never take Echinacea or other supplements without medical approval.
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Where Should A Pregnant Person Get Vaccinated
There are many different options for pregnant people to receive a flu shot, including a health care providers office, at work, a pharmacy, some stores, or a supermarket. All these places give flu vaccines that are licensed and approved for use in the United States. If youve never had a problem when previously receiving a flu vaccine, then there is no reason you cant get a flu vaccine at work or a supermarket.
Benefits Of Breastfeeding For Immune Health
Breastfeeding has a number of benefits for the baby and the nursing parent. Your body produces antibodies that are passed to your baby, which then protect them from your cold or viral infection.
If you are too sick or weak to breastfeed, you might try pumping milk to keep up your supply.
Supplementing with baby formula is also an option, and it’s absolutely safe. If you are unable to breastfeed, your baby can receive the nutrients they need from formula.
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Can You Prevent Colds And The Flu
While you can’t prevent every cold or sniffle, remember that the best offense is a good defense. Wash your hands, avoid people who are ill, and take care of yourself by eating well and getting enough rest. Avoid people who are sick, even if they are in your family. Do not drink or eat after others. Become a germaphobeit will serve you well.
You have to remember that pregnant women are more likely to have complications from the flu. This can lead to an increased risk to mom and baby, including the likelihood that you will die from the flu. Its rare, but it does happen.
How Do I Know If I Have A Cold During Pregnancy
Symptoms of a cold during pregnancy are no different than the usual cold symptoms. These include:
A cold can be easily confused with the flu because the two infections share many of the same symptoms. But unlike a cold, the flu can also cause more serious symptoms. These include:
Having a fever in early pregnancy has been linked to birth defects. If you notice a fever at any time during your pregnancy, talk to your healthcare provider to see if treatment is needed.
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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.
Why Should Pregnant People Get A Flu Shot
Influenza is more likely to cause severe illness in pregnant people than in people of reproductive age who are not pregnant. Changes to the immune system, heart, and lungs during pregnancy make people more susceptible to influenza severe enough to cause hospitalization throughout pregnancy and up to two weeks postpartum. Influenza also may be harmful for the developing baby. A common influenza symptom fever may be associated with neural tube defects and other adverse outcomes for a developing baby. Parental vaccination also can help protect a baby from influenza after birth .
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Can I Breastfeed While Sick
Yes, you can breastfeed even if you’re sick. Breastfeeding while sick is still healthy for you and your baby. Continuing to breastfeed is also a good reminder to keep yourself fully hydrated. You need ample hydration to make breast milk, and it also helps relieve symptoms.
Things to consider with breastfeeding while sick include:
- Age of the infant
- Potential effects of the drug on breast milk production
- Amount of the drug that will enter the milk supply
- Proportion of the baby’s milk intake that is from breastfeeding
Premature babies and newborns are most at risk for being negatively affected by medicine in breast milk, but the risk goes down around 2 months of age.
How Long Does The Flu Last
The length of time youre stuck suffering from the flu varies from person to person, but an uncomplicated course of the flu usually lasts anywhere from three to seven days, Watkins says, though a cough and general feeling of being sick can last two weeks or more. Pregnant women may have symptoms for longer, he says. In some cases, pregnant women can develop pneumonia as a complication of the flu, which extends the length of the illness.
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How Can You Prevent Catching A Cold During Pregnancy
Colds cannot be prevented entirely. However, the following tips may help
- Avoid close contact with people who have a cold.
- Wash your hands for 20 seconds every few hours.
- Use a clean towel to dry your hands.
- Avoid touching your face, especially your nose and eyes to prevent infection.
- Sneeze or cough into your upper shirt sleeve.
- Always wear a mask while stepping out, especially during COVID-19 times.
- Use a hand sanitizer with 60 percent alcohol if hand washing is not available.
- Avoid going outdoors unless it is necessary.