When a woman becomes pregnant, her immune system takes a nosedive. The woman’s body does this to prevent the baby from being rejected as the body sees it as a “foreign object.”
The best tip for battling the common cold or flu virus during pregnancy is to avoid people who have a cold or the flu. Even if it is your own family member, have someone who is not likely to catch the virus care for the family member. This can be difficult to do, therefore if you are the only one who can care for the person, you must protect yourself.
If that means wearing gloves and a mask while caring for the sick family member, then do just that. Make good use of disinfecting cloths and sprays and keep some distance between the two of you. Always wash your hands after caring for the sick person and do not touch your mouth, eyes, ears or nose, as these are entry points for the virus. If it will make you feel better, stuff a little cotton ball in your ears and wear disposable protective eyewear. This may seem a bit extreme but you are protecting your baby from the cold and flu too, not just yourself. In addition, the sick person should stay in their room so they do not wander through the whole house touching things and spreading the germs everywhere.
If you do catch a cold or the flu, there are a few over the counter medications you can use to help with the symptoms that doctors have deemed safe for use during pregnancy.
Pseudoephedrine (do not use during the first trimester)- Decongestant
Acetaminophen (generic brand of Tylenol)
Some doctors say women should get a flu shot while others say they should not. Talk to your doctor about it and any side effects and make an educated choice depending on your specific living situation (small children in the home who love to share germs), your exposure to the public etc…
The safest things you can do if you catch a cold or the flu virus are as follows:
Drink lots of liquids – it is important to stay hydrated
If you are able to eat – eat fruits, vegetables and things that are loaded with vitamins and minerals to help give your immune symptom a boost.
Get lots of rest
Do not stop taking your prenatal vitamins, you need these now more than ever (if you are having trouble keeping them down, do your best, try cutting them into small pieces and taking a small piece at a time)
If you have a fever that is higher than 101 degrees call your doctor
Use a humidifier to help with congestion
If the cold or flu lasts longer than it normally would, make an appointment to see your doctor. The cold or flu is no fun when you are not pregnant so being pregnant can make it seem even worse. Just try to follow all the tips above for a non-complicated, speedy recovery.
Tammy Mahan has worked in the healthcare field for over 20 years. She often contributes articles to Healthline.com.
Photo Credit – www.mumlifeproject.com
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