Getting the flu is hard enough to deal with when you aren’t pregnant. When you suddenly become pregnant, however, trying to combat and manage your flu symptoms becomes a far more complicated. Suddenly those over the counter medications you’ve gotten so used to taking might not be as safe as they used to be. Sure taking an Advil can cure a headache and help you bring down your fever but when it comes to pregnancy, doctors have pretty much reached a consensus: Advil is no good for a fetus!
Other cold and flu medications can be harmful too or, as is often said in doctor-speak “avoidance is STRONGLY recommended.”
The new Sudafed, Sudafed PE is harmful for unborn babies as is Actifed and many other decongestants and anti-histamines. Aspirin is another giant no-no.
If you are desperate for medication to help numb your system, make sure to call your doctor and ask what you can take or if you can get a prescription for something. Your doctor will know what the latest medical research says is safe and what is not. Of course, not everyone can get in to see the doctor for a cold remedy. What should you do if your doctor’s office has a long wait or if you can’t afford the visit?
The best way to help yourself feel better and keep your baby safe is to opt for natural remedies. Get plenty of rest—make sure to sleep with your head elevated, drink plenty of fluids and eat well—basically the same things you already need to do to make sure you stay healthy the rest of the time. Of course, sometimes these simple measures do not help as much or as quickly as you would like them to. Here are some suggestions to help ease your discomfort naturally:
The Neti Pot
If you’re having sinus issues, consider a neti pot. A neti pot can be purchased fairly inexpensively at most drug stores or homeopathic stores. You can also make your own with a sport bottle or tea pot, warm water (boil it first!) and some sea salt. Boil the water, let it cool, mix in the sea salt and pour it into the tea kettle or sport bottle. Then take your pouring device with you to the sink. Lean your head sideways over the sink and open your mouth. Then dribble or squirt a small amount of water into your nostril. Keep your mouth open so that you can breathe and let the water run out of your other nostril. This will do a great job of flushing out your sinuses and helping you breathe!
A lot of people aren’t too fond of the neti pot because they hate the idea of pouring salty water into their faces when they are already feeling stuffed up and congested.
Another option for helping you breathe when you’re stuffed up is steam. Take a hot shower and let the bathroom fill up with steam. This will help break up the phlegm in your chest as well as clear up your stuffed up sinuses. The hot water will help relax your muscles and rest easier as well—we all know how important it is to rest when you’re sick!
If you don’t want to stand up in the shower, you can always steam your face as well. Boil some water in a large pot on the stove. Then, either pour the boiling water into a sturdy bowl (if you use too thin a bowl, you run the risk of melting it with the hot water!). Take the bowl over to a table or hold it on your lap. Then bend over the bowl and breathe the steam in deeply. To contain the steam and keep the water warm, make sure you drape a towel over your head and let the sides fall down over the edges of the bowl (not in the bowl though!). This will keep the steam aimed at your face and keep the water from cooling off too quickly.
Incidentally: steam is also great for opening pores—try your favorite facial cleanser and acne medicine after doing this watch your complexion improve!
Clearing up a cough is a little bit harder. While Robitussin seems to be the favored over the counter method for controlling a cough, not everyone is helped by the drug. Some people are simply unaffected by Robitussin. So what do you do to clear up the mucus keeping you congested?
Vapo-rub is another standard favorite when it comes up helping manage a chest cold. In addition to rubbing the Vapo Rub on your chest, you can also rub it on to the soles of your feet before bed. Just make sure to wear thick socks, so you won’t get the rub all over your sheets. This may sound completely insane, but this is a remedy that has been passed down since salve was invented!
The drier the air, the harder it is for your congestion to clear up. Use a humidifier to help you breathe easier!
As previously stated, it is best to consult your doctor if you feel that you are really suffering.
What are your favorite natural remedies? Leave them in the comments section!
Image : http://www.flickr.com/photos/alexey05/2441446184/sizes/o/in/photostream/