As spring begins to tempt us with blue skies and warmer temperatures, you may start to pat yourself on the back for managing to avoid getting flu during winter.
The good news is that the typical flu season only lasts around 3 months. The bad news is that it can also stick around for up to 6! So, we’re not out of the flu-woods just yet.
Flu can sneak up on you
One day you’re feeling fine, and the next you feel like you’ve been hit by a bus. If you’re pregnant, this can feel like a double-decker bus! Let’s face it, it’s hard to cough properly when your lungs are pushed up by a growing baby. On top of that, your GP probably told you: “Sorry, medication is just not safe for your baby.”
Fortunately, there are a few safe things you (or your significant other) can do to make you feel better.
Flu fighters that are safe during pregnancy
- Apply hot or cold packs to your nose and forehead to relieve congested sinuses. Microwave a damp towel for 45 seconds for a warm press or use a bag of frozen veggies for a cold one.
- Run a humidifier. It keeps the air around you moist, which can help loosen congestion. If you don’t have a humidifier, fill a basin with boiling hot water and inhale the steam while you lean over it
- Saltwater gargles can help relieve a sore or scratchy throat. The salt also helps to get rid of any nasty germs lurking in your throat. Dissolve half a teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water.
- Drink tea, but stick to decaf! Hot liquids relieve nasal congestion, prevent dehydration, and soothe those uncomfortably inflamed membranes that line your nose and throat.
- Honey and lemon can help to soothe a dry cough and both have anti-bacterial properties. Mix them into some hot water for a pregnancy approved Hot Toddy.
- Elevate your head. This helps to drain your sinus passages and can ease congestion.
- Stay warm and rested. This will help your body direct its energy toward the immune battle.
- A foot rub and a lot of TLC would not go amiss!
When to call your doctor
Because pregnancy can have an effect on your immune system, your recovery from the flu can take longer than normal. During this time, your risk for developing complications from the flu goes up. It is these complications that could harm your baby.
Call your doctor if you experience:
- difficulty breathing
- chest pain/pressure
- any bleeding
- severe vomiting
- high fevers
- decreased foetal movement
Next year, just before flu-season arrives, remember to get your flu-jab; by keeping yourself healthy, you’ll also protect your brand new bundle of joy!