How to Deal with Cold During Pregnancy

Winter has come with its beautiful snowy landscapes, but, unfortunately, also with awful weather and wet feet. Disease does not discriminate and everybody can go down with cold. How to deal with it when you are pregnant?

Consultation: Paweł Palacz gynecologist, obstetrician

A chance that you will not get any infection during your pregnancy, is small. Particularly, as woman's immunity is usually lower during these nine months. On the other hand, you have fewer treatment options available due to limitations concerning medications that can be safely taken during pregnancy.

Ways to improve immunity

Remember, it is always better to prevent than to treat. A few tips to reduce the risk of infection:

  • Eat healthy
    Follow a wholesome diet. Eat a lot of fruit and vegetables, yogurts, sauerkraut and pickled cucumbers. Onion, garlic and honey have excellent anti-bacterial and disinfecting properties.

  • Drink water
    Hydrate your body. Dry mucosa in airways is more susceptible to infections. You can drink mint or chamomile tea, chokeberry and citrus juice, or prepare a drink of chopped fresh ginger with honey and lemon.

  • Exercise
    Even a 30-minute walk will noticeably improve your immunity. Spend a lot of time in fresh air. When the weather is good and you feel well, take poles and go to the park.

  • Stay away from shopping centers
    Try to avoid crowded places, full of sneezing and coughing people. Also, air conditioning systems, not always maintained in proper cleanliness, can be hazardous. Whenever you can, shop at small local shops, and ask your husband or friend to do any larger shopping.

  • Have enough sleep
    Tired body is a weak body. You must be rested to defend yourself against illness. Get enouhg sleep, in an aired and rather cool room. Whenever possible, take a nap during the day. Washing up really can wait.

Medicines during pregnancy

It is particularly important now, when you are pregnant, not to take any medicines without consulting a doctor. Many medicines can be harmful to a developing fetus. Do not take any antibiotics, aspirin, metamizole- or ibuprofen-based drugs without consultation. You must also be careful with nasal sprays; only those containing sea water or saline are recommended. Before using any medicine, always read a patient's leaflet carefully.

Illness during pregnancy

However, when your throat is sore and your nose is itchy, first try home remedies. Ideas of our grandmas, though it may seem otherwise, often are very helpful in fighting infections.

However, when you run high fever, and after 2–3 days the infection symptoms do not abate but intensify, or new ones appear (earache, strong  cough, problems with breathing) - you must contact your GP or an internist. Whenever possible, call your gynecologist. Unfortunately, home remedies are not enough. If flu, tonsillitis, bronchitis or pneumonia is developing, you need medical assistance. You may require antibiotic treatment, in such case the doctor will select medicines appropriate for your condition.

  • Cold

    Although we usually ignore cold, it may be a beginning of some serious infection and, therefore, it is worth combating. If you are not suffering from anything else, cold can be "aired", so do not be afraid of going for a walk, as fresh air will clean your mucosa. Remember to drink a lot and take vitamin C in its natural form (citrus fruits, sauerkraut and pickled cucumbers). Use garlic and onions. You must clean your nose frequently; nasal discharge can flow into your throat, posing a risk of infection to sinuses, bronchi or ears. Inhalations using herbs: mint, chamomile, sage or eucalyptus oil, are also an effective remedy. For your nose you can use saline, seawater-based drops or homeopathic drops. Apply marjoram ointment around your nostrils.

  • Cough, sore throat

    Try some home-made syrups for your cough. Remember, however, that cough can stimulate premature contractions, so when you suffer with frequent and long coughing fits, it is better to contact a doctor. 

    An old, well-proven onion syrup will help to alleviate your cough and improve you immunity in general. Pour some honey or sugar over a chopped onion. After about one hour it will release juice that should be drank a few times a day. It is important to prepare fresh syrup every day, as then its healing properties are the strongest. If you have dry cough, you can also drink boiled linseed with some honey. An infusion of chopped ginger, with some honey added, will help as well. An OTC medicine you can use is marshmallow syrup. 

    A good remedy for a sore throat is a tried gargle of our grandmas: water with salt. You can also use a herbal gargle, e.g. with sage. When a sore throat is accompanied by high fever, you should contact a specialist as there is a risk of strep throat. 

  • Fever

    The only safe pharmacy medicine for fever is paracetamol, at a single dose not exceeding 1000 mg. The maximum dose of paracetamol is 4 g per 24 hours. When the fever is not very high, try some remedies promoting sweating, such as linden tea or warm up under a duvet. When the fever is high, exceeding 38 degrees, try to reduce it by taking a cold bath. When it persists for 2–3 days, do not wait but go to a doctor, to check its causes.

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