Influenza, or flu, consists of a family of viruses that could cause severe illness; it’s more than a mere sore throat and runny nose. The flu can be particularly harmful if you get it after or during pregnancy. In addition, the virus spreads easily from one person to another.
When somebody with the virus sneezes or coughs, the virus becomes airborne, so you can get a flu infection if you inhale the virus or touch something, like a virus-infected phone, and then touch your eyes, nose, or mouth. If you’re concerned about the effects of the flu on your pregnancy, Joy of Life® is ready to offer expert guidance and tips.
Pregnancy and Flu
While everyone faces the risk of contracting the virus, women who get the flu while pregnant or have given birth recently are more vulnerable to the more severe effects of the illness. Pregnant women or those who might become pregnant throughout the flu season should get their flu shot.
The shot might prevent expectant women from getting the flu and decrease the likelihood of hospitalization. According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), expectant women have a higher likelihood of experiencing severe complications and symptoms from the virus, because their heart, lungs, and immune system are stressed during pregnancy.
Having the flu while pregnant could also result in bronchitis, which might turn into pneumonia. Nevertheless, more severe complications linked to the virus during pregnancy include septic shock and meningitis. Beware that having the flu during pregnancy could be harmful to the fetus. For instance, you might end up with a premature or low-birth-weight baby.
Health complications from the virus, like pneumonia, could be serious and even lethal, particularly if you’re pregnant. The virus can be especially dangerous during pregnancy since pregnancy affects your heart, immune system, and lungs.
The immune system is the body’s way of guarding itself against diseases and illnesses. Once your body detects something like a virus that could affect your health, the immune system works hard to defend itself and fight it off.
When you’re expectant, your immune system isn’t as fast to respond to diseases, since it’s preparing to welcome the developing baby. However, a compromised immune system implies that you have a high likelihood of getting sick with viruses such as the flu.
Another reason why the flu could be dangerous throughout pregnancy is that your lungs require more oxygen, particularly in the 2nd and 3rd trimesters. During this period, your growing belly will put pressure on the lungs, forcing them to work harder in a tiny space.
You might even experience shortness of breath occasionally. During pregnancy, your heart works hard to supply blood to you and the baby. All this means the body is stressed throughout pregnancy. The stress could increase your chances of getting the flu.
What You Need to Know
Getting a Flu Shot During Pregnancy
According to CDC reports, the flu shot has a safety record signifying that it’s safe for pregnant women. However, expectant women shouldn’t use the live attenuated vaccine, which is available in the form of a nasal spray.
Bear in mind that the live vaccine comprises live microorganisms of the flu virus, which could cross the placenta, leading to a viral infection in the fetus. Nevertheless, the CDC agrees that the potential fetus damage is “theoretical”, but health providers don’t administer the vaccine as a safety measure.
Before obtaining the shot, you should inform your health provider of any severe allergies or whether you’ve had a severe allergic response to a flu shot previously. If you’re concerned about having an allergic response to the shot, the health providers at Joy of Life® will ease your concerns and advise you accordingly.
Keep in mind that some flu shots use eggs during their preparation. Still, most women suffering from egg allergies can obtain the flu shot. If you experience severe egg allergies, consider obtaining the shot in a medical setting such as a clinic from a health provider who’s knowledgeable about treating allergic reactions and severe allergies.
Home Remedies for Cold and Flu During Pregnancy
During pregnancy, your immune system will typically weaken and a cold or the flu could cause extreme discomfort. However, these natural remedies will help you feel better.
Get Sufficient Rest
If you’re suffering from a cold or flu during pregnancy, you should get adequate rest. You’ll discover resting is the best way of giving your body energy and time to fight the infection. Napping twice or three times a day is advisable to give your body a good chance to recuperate and rest.
Increase Your Fluid Intake
Maintaining hydration is crucial during pregnancy, and giving your body adequate fluids becomes utterly significant in case you get a cold. Remember, a cold or the flu can result in fluid loss. Therefore, you should drink water, ginger tea, or fresh juices to replenish lost fluids.
Lemon and Honey
Lemon and honey are an excellent combination that works well in alleviating cold symptoms throughout pregnancy. Put a tablespoon of lemon juice and a teaspoon of honey into a glass of warm water. Mix well and drink the mixture 3-4 times daily.
You could drink this mixture even after recovery if you’re prone to getting a cold. You’ll discover the vitamin C present in lemon strengthens your immune system and honey’s soothing properties alleviates a sore throat.
While it might sound simple, saltwater is extremely effective in curing different symptoms linked to a cold. It helps flush the cough- and cold-causing viruses and bacteria out of your system. The home remedy is safe for warding off colds throughout pregnancy.
A glass solution of warm water with a half teaspoon of salt will provide relief from a sore throat. Alternatively, you could put some drops of the saline solution in your nose to handle a stuffy and blocked nose.
How To Prevent the Flu During Pregnancy
You can take these steps as precautionary measures to prevent the flu.
You can decrease your likelihood of getting the flu by obtaining a flu shot, which is safe during all phases of pregnancy. A flu shot helps the immune system generate antibodies to fight the infection while helping your baby inherit the antibodies as well.
You might consider a facemask if you have a compromised immune system. If your family member or spouse has the flu, you should minimize contact until he or she recovers. You could also carry a hand sanitizer while in public or while using public transport to maintain germ-free hands.
Consume a Balanced Diet
While no foods are associated with flu prevention, eating foods rich in zinc and vitamin C might help enhance your immune system and fight infections quicker. Drinking enough water also prevents dehydration while keeping your mucous membranes in good shape.
Get Plenty of Rest and Exercise
For flu prevention and other infections, you could do some appropriate exercises. It’s equally important to get sufficient rest to maintain a strong immune system.
When To Call Your Doctor
While most colds don’t cause issues for unborn children, you should take the flu more seriously. You should seek immediate medical help if you experience these symptoms: difficulty breathing, dizziness, confusion, reduced fetal movement, and severe vomiting.
When you’re expecting, everything that occurs to you could affect not merely your own body but your unborn child as well. This could make it complex to deal with illness. While the flu can be complex during pregnancy, it doesn’t need to be stressful. Fortunately, the experts at Joy of Life® are ready to help you in your recovery.