With the amount of germs and allergens in the air, the waves of sickness in the forms of cold and flu have been fairly high. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the peak of flu season has passed, and Wyoming reported minimal flu-like illness. However, the CDC expects flu activity to continue for several more weeks. In fact, the activity overall in the nation remains elevated.
Such illness isn’t always something to take lightly. The CDC reports that there have been 55 influenza-associated deaths of children during the current flu season. During previous years, more than 100 children died from flu and/or pneumonia. The CDC doesn’t count the number of adult deaths due to flu.
What should a pregnant woman do if she gets a cold or the flu?
Treating a cold often means taking over-the-counter (OTC) medications. However, many medications aren’t recommended while pregnant; therefore, expectant moms should always contact their health care provider BEFORE taking cold medicines.
According to an article published by Medical News Today, some pain relievers, such as ibuprofen (Advil) and opioids may increase risks of miscarriage and birth defects.
Dr. Sam Scaling, who is True Care Women’s Resource Center’s medical director, says some medications for sinus can be taken by pregnant women. For example, Zyrtec is okay to be used prior to 16 weeks, and Claritin can be used after 16 weeks. He also says plain Robitussin can be used for coughs. He recommends Tylenol for any aches, pains, fevers, and headaches during pregnancy. Before using a cough suppressant/cough syrup, pregnant women are advised to first try mentholated throat lozenges. Also, the natural herb Echinacea is safe for pregnant and nursing moms. However, the least amount of medications used during pregnancy the better for baby. Pregnant women should always check with a doctor before taking any antihistamines or decongestants.
If you have a cold and are pregnant, the Medical News article recommends consuming plenty of water, getting good rest, and using warm compresses on the sinuses and head. You may also want to use a cool mist humidifier to help relieve a stuffy nose and promote a beneficial cough.
How does a pregnant woman prevent catching a cold? Like all other people: washing hands with soap and warm water, staying active, and eating healthy.
Experts highly recommend pregnant women get a flu shot. They also stress women who are pregnant and get the flu should contact their health care provider right away. Flu can lead to bronchitis and, more importantly and deadly, to pneumonia.
Complications from the flu during pregnancy include possibility of pre-term labor, premature birth of one’s baby, and birth defects.
According to the March of Dimes, three medications for treating the flu have been approved for pregnant women. They are Oseltamivir (Tamiflu®), Zanamivir (Relenza®), Peramavir (Repivab®); your physician will recommend what s/he thinks is best for you.
Flu is highly contagious. If you get the flu, take measures to not spread it to others. Those preventatives include:
- Staying home when you’re sick and limiting contact with other people.
- Restrain from kissing anyone.
- Cough or sneeze into a tissue or your arm, and throw used tissues in the trash.
- Don’t touch your eyes, nose, or mouth.
- Wash your hands with soap and water before touching anyone or anything, like door knobs and dishes. Or use alcohol-based hand sanitizers instead of hand washing. Use enough sanitizer so that it takes a minimum of 15 seconds for your hands to dry.
- Use hot, soapy water or a dishwasher to wash your dishes and utensils.
- Don’t share dishes, glasses, utensils or your toothbrush with other people.
Stay as healthy as possible the rest of this season and help your family, friends, and community be healthy, too. And, if you do get sick from either a cold or flu, talk with your health care provider immediately.
Helping women who have an unplanned pregnancy
If you or someone you know is experiencing an unplanned pregnancy, contact True Care Women’s Resource Center’s Scheduling Line for your free appointment. Our professional nurses will give you a pregnancy test and, depending upon your pregnancy test result and how far along you are, offer a free ultrasound. Call or text the Scheduling Line today at 307-215-9684.