When you're feeling like you're going to die any second with the dreaded flu, usually a quick trip to the shop for a pack of cold and flu tablets. But now whilst pregnant can it be that easy?
Cold vs Flu?
It's very easy to diagnose yourself with the flu after having the sniffles for a day but there are a few differences to help you know if you've got a cold or if you've got the flu.
Do I Have a Cold?
With a common cold, it is common to experience the same symptoms each time, these can include;
- Runny nose/Blocked nose,
- Sore throat.
You can experience different symptoms but usually a cold will clear up on it's own after around 7 to 10 days.
Do I Have the Flu?
The flu is mistaken for a common cold and whilst they are very similar, there are a number of symptoms which will appear which aren't present during the common cold. Some symptoms of the flu to keep an eye out for are;
- Severe headaches,
- Nausea or vomiting,
- Sore throat,
- Dry cough,
- Muscle or body aches,
- Severe Fatigue,
- Runny nose,
- Face ache.
The flu can linger around for up to 2 weeks and you may find yourself unable to go about your daily life as you will be too unwell.
How to Treat the Symptoms of a Cold and the Flu?
You can often find yourself begging to be well again, when trying to treat a cold or the flu. But you're advised to avoid all medications for the first 12 weeks of pregnancy as this is a very crucial time for the development of your baby. After the first 12 weeks you can begin to take a number of steps to speed up the recovery of a cold or the flu.
You can find cough drops often are great for a dry, tickly cough and keeping your throat from being dry and itchy. Cough drops are safe for use during pregnancy as long as you double check the packaging to ensure the safety of both you and your baby.
Your cold will flare up your sinuses and can be a pin when trying to get to sleep at night. You can try using a menthol rub, such as Vicks, to help you breathe easier. You can try rubbing this on your chest, temples and under the nose.
Nasal Strips, or most of these, are safe for use during pregnancy. These can help open your airways and allow you to get a "good" night sleep.
Cough syrup can help relieve the chesty coughs during a cold. They can help with the pain of constant coughing and not being able to sleep to coughing.
💊Ibuprofen and Paracetamol:
You can take painkillers (which are safe to use during pregnancy, obviously you will need to check this) to help with the body aches you may suffer with
A hot bath can help open your airways, as well as relax your muscles. Many people might not be able to think of anything worse than sitting in a steamy room whilst you're ill but it can work wonders so give it a try.
Whilst you're losing fluids through a fever or a runny nose, your body may be lacking in fluid that both you and your baby require. So you need to stay focused on staying hydrated. It can be easier to drink hot drinks or eat hot soup whilst your throat is so sore.
Foods that are rich in vitamin c can help boost your immune system naturally and this can be a real help whilst suffering a cold.
You can try gargling salt water which can help control a cough and also ease a sore throat. This can be unpleasant but if you're wanting relief from a cold, you'll try anything.
Honey is a great way to help ease the dry, scratchy throat. This can often be found in cough syrups but if you wish to treat yourself naturally try swallowing 2 teaspoons or mix this into a mug of hot water with a bit of lemon. This is very soothing.
Sleep, sleep and more sleep. Now, we all know this is very difficult when suffering with a cold but with all the methods above, you can try and rest up as much as you can. This can help your body with recovery and will allow your body to work at a steady pace. Try using a lavender pillow spray, this can also help you sleep better.
How to Prevent the Cold and Flu?
Here are a few tips and tricks to prevent getting a cold or getting the flu, especially whilst pregnant;
Ensure you're cleaning your hands thoroughly and making sure your hands are completely dry once washed. This can stop bacteria reproducing and viruses spreading.
Try taking a number of vitamins to ensure your body's immune system is as built up ready to attack any viruses you may be a victim to.
Green tea is high in antioxidants so is very good for fighting off illnesses. This can be good for other health benefits also.
You can get a flu vaccine when pregnant which will protect both you and your baby. This is perfectly safe and will be sure to protect you from any complications which can occur when you have a cold during pregnancy.
Should I See A Doctor?
You should visit your GP if you experience any of the following:
- Shortness of breath,
- Severe head pain that hasn't improved,
- Fever lasting 5 days or more,
- Severe sore throat,
- Closure of the airway.