Immune Boosting Tips for Cold and Flu Season during Pregnancy
We are in the midst of cold and flu season! During this time of year, I like to take special precaution with my pregnant patients, since their immune systems are slightly lower just by being pregnant. I often get a lot of question about what to do to prevent and treat colds and the flu during this time in a women’s life. If you are pregnant, here is a list of things that are safe to help with both prevention and treatment. Always remember, if you are actively sick, the best way to treat a cold or flu quickly and effectively is by coming in and getting a personalized treatment plan for your particular case.
- Wash your hands: We all know prevention is the best medicine. This cold and flu season, do not forget to regularly wash your hands to stop the spread of germs. If you are unable to wash your hands on a regular basis, skip the chemical laden hand sanitizers and opt for EO or Everyone hand sanitizer spray which are much cleaner products for you and your baby.
- Avoid those who are under the weather: If you are around someone who is sick, politely let them know you will be keeping your distance. Although exposure in not the sole reason one becomes ill, it certainly is one of the most important ones. Also, carefully select your locations: crowded malls, airplanes and doctor’s offices/hospitals might be places to avoid during the season.
- Keep your immunity up: Do not forget to do the basics to keep yourself health: hydration, adequate sleep, and avoiding unhealthy foods will keep your immune system strong. Studies have shown that all three of these are important for sustaining health
At Home Remedies:
- Neti pots, steam inhalations and rubs: For congestion that maybe causing headaches and brain fog, consider using either of these. Neti Pots are a form of nasal irrigation that will help clean the debris (dust, viruses, mucous) from your sinus cavities. If you need a little extra help with clearing congestion, boil some water and place a few drops of eucalyptus essential oil in the water, place a towel over your head and breathe for as long as necessary. Additionally, to help with congestion during sleep, a mentholated chest rub might be beneficial under the nose or on the chest.
- For throat pain: Salt water gargle and honey can be used to help alleviate discomfort. For a salt water gargle, place a small amount of salt in warm water and gargle at least three times a day or more if needed. Honey can just be taken orally as needed to help soothe and coat the throat.
- Teas: There are some medicinal teas that are helpful to calm cold symptoms that are also safe during pregnancy. Ginger tea can help with symptoms of cough, fever, muscle aches, nausea and indigestion. Chamomile tea will not only calm your nerves and help relax you, but can also alleviate aches and help promote sleep.
- Probiotics: Your first line of defense against bacteria and viruses is the health of your gut. Probiotics actually help balance the growth of the bugs in your system that make you sick, they decrease inflammation in the body and have been shown in studies to both prevent colds as well as decrease the amount of time you are sick. Probiotics during pregnancy also help tame that annoying yeast overgrowth that is often a problem.
- Vitamin D: Getting adequate vitamin D not only boosts the immune system, but it prevents preterm labor and infections. Vitamin D is extremely important at regulating the immune system and most people are deficient in it. It is not only safe to take during pregnancy, it is an important nutrient to add, especially if you are deficient. However, a word of caution: Too much vitamin D can be toxic. If you are simply taking it during cold and flu season, up to 1,000 IU/day is a safe short term dose. However, it is best, especially during pregnancy to get your levels tested so you know the appropriate dose to be on.
- Echinacea: Echinacea is the most widely used herb by pregnant women. Oral short term use has been studied in pregnant women and was found to be safe. Echinacea is well known to boost immune systems during cold and flu season. There are numerous studies that show this herb can both help prevent you from getting sick and decrease the length of a cold.
If you are pregnant and wanting to naturally prevent or treat colds and the flu, these suggestions may help provide some substantial relief. We know that adding a cold on top of the other pregnancy symptoms you are already dealing with can be a small nightmare. To help prevent this years flu strain, we are also carrying the Influenzinum homeopathic remedy. The remedy is made with the same strain as the flu vaccine, but is oral and does not contain any of the chemical immune agitants or preservatives that the vaccine contains. Come swing by our office today to come pick it up for your family!