Pregnancy and the Flu
How Do You Find a Place to Get a Flu Shot?
The American Lung Association offers an online flu vaccine clinic locator. Visit www.flucliniclocator.org, enter a zip code and a date (or dates), and receive information about clinics scheduled in your area.
There is also a nasal flu vaccine called FluMist that contains live but weakened viruses. The nasal flu vaccine is not recommended during pregnancy because it has not been tested in pregnant women. The FluMist nasal vaccine can be used in healthy people aged 2 to 49 years old.
How Should I Treat Cold or Flu Symptoms During Pregnancy?
Many flu and cold medications have not been well studied in pregnancy. If you are pregnant and have the flu, call your doctor before taking any over-the-counter or prescription drug.
Treatments for cold and flu symptoms that your doctor may suggest during pregnancy include:
- Acetaminophen, the preferred treatment for fever, aches and pains of flu and colds during pregnancy.
- Saline nasal spray or nasal irrigation.
- Pseudoephedrine, the decongestant may be helpful for some people. Avoid pseudoephedrine in the first trimester or if you have hypertension.
These treatments are found commonly among over-the-counter cold and flu remedies. Check labels carefully.
Pregnant women with flu are at greater risk of serious illness and death from flu. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the use of oseltamivir (Tamiflu) or zanamivir (Relenza) in pregnant women with suspected or test-proven flu.
What Are Some Natural Ways to Treat Flu Symptoms During Pregnancy?
Try these four natural flu remedies during pregnancy:
- Use sugar or honey-based lozenges to relieve sore throats and cough.
- Get plenty of bed rest.
- Drink ample fluids, such as water, juice, and caffeine-free tea.
- Put an air humidifier in your room to provide extra moisture, which can help reduce congestion.
How Do You Prevent Flu During Pregnancy?
Get a flu shot to prevent the flu. Do not use FluMist, the nasal spray influenza vaccine. It is not recommended for pregnant women.
To prevent exposure to flu during pregnancy:
- Wash your hands often.
- Avoid crowds.
- Avoid contact with people who have a cold.
- Do not touch your eyes, nose, or mouth. Germs are often spread when you touch a contaminated surface and then touch your eyes, nose, or mouth.
In addition, call your doctor if:
- You have trouble breathing.
- Your symptoms don't improve or get worse after three to four days.
- After feeling a little better, you develop signs of a more serious problem.
Some signs of a more serious problem are a sick-to-your-stomach feeling, vomiting, high fever, shaking chills, chest pain, or coughing with thick, yellow-green mucus.