A few home remedies may work on the mild cough if you do not want to start medications right away. These can be tried provided the symptoms are not very severe. These are as follows:
- The use of humidifiers in the house can soothe the dry throat and relieve throat irritation.
- Drinking hot tea with honey, having hot soups or broths, and sipping warm water with a pinch of turmeric may help relieve cough and chest congestion in many women.
- Avoidance of smoking including second-hand smoke is an important tip to get better quickly.
- Getting enough rest and drinking enough fluids throughout the day are important.
The following medications are considered safe for pregnant women:
- Acetaminophen (paracetamol) can be safely taken twice a day for sore throat and headache due to cold and cough.
- Antihistaminics can relieve the symptoms of a runny nose and an itchy throat in individuals having seasonal flu. Older antihistamines such as chlorpheniramine and cetirizine can be taken in prescribed doses by pregnant women. Newer antihistamines such as fexofenadine are not backed by enough studies; hence, it is better to avoid these.
- Saline nasal irrigation or spray can be instilled in the nostrils to relieve nose block and clear the dried secretions. It may be used thrice a day.
- The 0.06% ipratropium bromide nasal spray is very effective as two 42 mcg sprays in each nostril three to four times a day to relieve nasal congestion. Xylometazoline nasal drops may provide relief, but they often cause severe rebound nasal congestion; hence, it is better to avoid them.
- Guaifenesin syrup is a cough expectorant that acts by increasing moisture in the respiratory tubes and improving phlegm removal by natural processes. At the standard over the counter (OTC) doses, guaifenesin syrup is generally considered acceptable for use in pregnancy. You must always check the label and avoid Guaifenesin products containing alcohol or propylene glycol that may be harmful to the fetus.
- Decongestants such as Pseudoephedrine can relieve the congestion in the sinuses and the throat by narrowing the swollen blood vessels in the nose, throat, and sinuses. Pseudoephedrine should be avoided in the first trimester of pregnancy because of an increased risk of birth defects. In the next two trimesters (after the first 13 weeks), it is probably the preferred oral agent among oral decongestants because it is less likely to increase blood pressure than the other oral decongestants.
- Steroid nasal sprays containing budesonide, beclomethasone, and fluticasone are preferred among the inhaled glucocorticoids to relieve the symptoms of sinusitis and a blocked nose.
- Antibiotics may be needed in special cases when you have yellow- or greenish-colored sputum, wheezing, constant fever, and body ache. Antibiotics must always be taken after consultation with your doctor and in doses specified. Your doctor is the person to guide you regarding the most effective antibiotic, given your history and culprit organism. Many antibiotics are prohibited in pregnancy due to a high risk of birth defects, so always make sure your doctor is aware of your pregnancy.
How do I prevent getting a cough or cold during pregnancy?
Building a healthy immune system is the first step to prevent any infection during pregnancy. You must adopt and maintain a healthy lifestyle during your pregnancy. Eat clean, well-cooked food, and make sure you maintain your weight within the limits advised to you. Regular light exercises such as walking or stretching are good for your body. Get enough sleep and take your vitamins as prescribed. Wash your hands regularly with clean water and soap. Avoid contact with someone who is suffering from flu, cold, or cough. Drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated. Avoid touching your face without washing your hands.
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