Common cold treatments for when you’re pregnant
Winter and its change of chillier weather, brings with it more of a chance of picking up the dreaded cold. But catching something when you’re pregnant can affect your unborn baby, which means you need to be extra careful with how you ward off the symptoms.
Due to the fact your immune system is also likely to change, your illness may last longer too – not ideal. The good news is the symptoms of a cold or flu are not typically dangerous to your baby, however, it’s still important to take the necessary measures to avoid contracting a cold or a cough while pregnant and to treat it once you get one.
Prevention is better than cure
It’s always the best option to try and avoid catching something in the first place versus struggling to get rid of it, so to dodge the dreaded cold, step one is to maintain a healthy lifestyle. It might sound obvious but getting the building blocks right initially will set your immune system up to be as strong as possible.
This includes eating nutritiously, getting the necessary amount of sleep, exercising safely on a regular basis, and in addition, it’s important to take your prenatal vitamins, such as Elevit tablets, as well as probiotics to keep everything in working order.
Also, it might sound simple, but don’t forget to wash your hands regularly; try something like Palmolive Hand Wash in Ocean Mineral, or hand sanitiser which is antibacterial, and if you come into contact with someone who is struggling with a cold, avoid touching their hands or eating after them. Plus, take extra effort to wash your hands more frequently when you’re around those who have a cold or cough.
What to do if you do catch a cold?
If you start to notice the beginnings of a cold, it may be possible to start treating yourself effectively from home, in which case get yourself nice and warm, rest up (by taking naps, sleeping through the night, and sitting down to relax) and drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration – water, juice and broth are all great to add necessary fluids back into your body.
Ideally, you should avoid taking medicines when you’re pregnant, particularly during the first three months. That’s a critical time for the development of your baby’s vital organs. Many doctors and pharmacists also recommend caution after 28 weeks. Speak with your doctor or pharmacist before taking any medication if you’re pregnant or trying to get pregnant.
Conditions such as colds or minor aches and pains often don’t need treating with medicines. However, several medications which are considered safe after 12 weeks of pregnancy include:
- Paracetamol – if you feel unwell and have a fever, you can take paracetamol to help lower your high temperature and relieve aches.
- Menthol rub on your chest, temples, and under the nose – the trusty classic Vicks is great.
- Nasal strips, which are sticky pads that open congested airways – why not try something like Breathe Right Nasal Strips.
- Cough drops or lozenges – Vapodrops are a great option to ease annoying coughs and sore throats. If your cough is particularly bothersome, a plain cough syrup, such as Demazin, would be a great option. For a more severe sore throat consider Difflam after seeking your pharmacist’s advice.
Also, do avoid all-in-one medications that combine ingredients to tackle many symptoms. Instead, choose single medications for the symptoms you’re dealing with. This can avoid taking some ingredients that may not be suitable while being pregnant or planning to fall pregnant.
Note: If you take other medications (over the counter or prescription) consult your pharmacist before trying these products.
Feras Karem is a Pharmacist and Managing Director of Pharmacy 4 less.
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