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  • Health | Pregnancy
  • 17.07.23

Cold and flu tips for pregnancy

During Australia’s cold and flu season, you might find yourself wondering how you can best protect yourself and your baby from cold and flu germs and what treatment to seek if you get sick. It can be difficult to know what medication and remedies are safe and what steps to take to manage your health during your illness.

While a cold is inconvenient, contracting influenza during your pregnancy can pose additional risks for both you and your baby. Some of the increased risks associated with influenza in pregnancy include hospitalisation, pneumonia, asthma exacerbations, heart and organ damage and premature labour.  

To help you, we asked Grace Private’s Specialist Women’s Health GP Frances Knight to share her advice on how to stay healthy if you’re pregnant during this cold and flu season. 

Preventing coughs and colds

There are a few things you can do to prevent common colds and coughs:

  • Hand hygiene – wash your hands regularly.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes and use disposable tissues.
  • Avoid contact with sick people.
  • Wear a mask in high-risk settings such as hospitals and GP waiting rooms.

Vaccines when you’re pregnant

The flu vaccine is highly recommended and safe at any stage of pregnancy. It’s also government funded. The COVID Vaccine is also highly recommended, specifically the mRNA (Pfizer, Moderna) vaccines. 

colds and flu pregnancy

Treatment for colds during pregnancy

A cold is a viral illness, so, unfortunately, there is no specific treatment available. Antibiotics are designed to treat bacterial infections, and are ineffective against colds. When it comes to managing a cold, the most important factor is time. 

To treat the symptoms: 

  • Rest.
  • Keep hydrated.
  • Use paracetamol for fevers and body aches.
  • Saline nasal sprays and steam inhalation for nasal congestion. 
  • Saline gargles, warm drinks and lozenges for coughs and a sore throat. 
  • Some medicated nasal sprays are safe in pregnancy but speak with your GP or pharmacist for advice. 

During pregnancy, you should avoid: 

  • NSAIDs like ibuprofen and aspirin, unless prescribed by your GP. 
  • Oral decongestants (pseudoephedrine, phenylephrine).

Experiencing flu symptoms? 

If you believe you might have influenza, you must speak with your GP as soon as possible. They will assess your symptoms and let you know if you need further testing, antiviral medicine or additional monitoring.Your Gp will advise the most suitable management plan to protect your health and the health of your baby. 

Also, inform your obstetrician, shared care GP or midwife of your condition, as they can provide additional guidance and book in a check-up once you are well. 

Seek immediate medical help

If you’re experiencing any of the following symptoms it’s important to seek immediate medical help. 

  • You’re feeling extremely unwell.
  • Chest pain.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Dizziness.
  • Vomiting/diarrhoea.
  • Inability to stay hydrated.
  • Concerns about your pregnancy: bleeding, reduced foetal movements.
  • Not improving after a few days or new symptoms. 
  • Any other concerns. 

As the cold and flu season approaches, it’s important to prioritise your health and take proactive steps to protect yourself and your baby. By following preventive measures, such as practising good hand hygiene, wearing masks in high-risk settings, and getting vaccinated, you can minimise the risk of contracting illnesses. 

If you do experience symptoms or suspect you have influenza, seeking medical advice is a must to protect the well-being of both you and your baby. Stay informed, take care of yourself, and don’t hesitate to reach out to your GP or Grace Private obstetrician if needed.

Contact Grace Private and book your appointment for more information. 

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  • Health, Pregnancy