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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Children's Cough Causes and TreatmentsChildren's cough causes include infection, acid reflux, asthma, allergies or sinus infection, whooping cough, and exposure to irritants. Treatment for a child's cough include cough medicine for children over the age of four.
Chronic CoughChronic cough is a cough that does not go away and is generally a symptom of another disorder such as asthma, allergic rhinitis, sinus infection, cigarette smoking, GERD, postnasal drip, bronchitis, pneumonia, medications, and less frequently tumors or other lung disease.
Chronic cough treatment is based on the cause, but may be soothed natural and home remedies.
Cold and Cough Medicine for Infants and Children
The safety of giving infants and children over-the-counter (OTC) cold and cough medicine is important for caregivers to understand. While there is no "gold standard" recommendation for giving infants and children OTC cold and cough medicine for fever, aches, cough, and runny nose, a few standards have been recommended.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that OTC cold and cough medicine only be used in children age four years and older.
The American College of Chest Physicians recommend that these medicines only be used in children age 15 years and older.
The FDA recommends that OTC cold and cough medicine be used in children 2 years of age and older.
However, there is agreement in regard to which OTC medications should not be used in children under the age of four (or the age of two, depending upon which guidelines are used), and they are 1) certain antihistamines like brompheniramine, chlorpheniramine maleate, and diphenhydramine (Benadryl); 2) cough expectorants (guaifenesin); 3) cough suppressants (dextromethorphan, DM); and 4) decongestants (pseudoephedrine and phenylephrine).
Aspirin should never be given to infants, children, and adolescents due to the possibility of a rare, but often severe and even fatal illness called Reye's syndrome.
FDA. "Most Young Children with a Cough or Cold Don't Need Medicines." July 18, 2017.
FDA. "Use Caution When Giving Cough and Cold Products to Kids." Updated: Nov 04, 2016.
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Is a Cough Contagious?There are many types of coughs: for example, dry cough, wet cough, a barking cough, whooping cough, stress induced cough, acute cough, and chronic cough. Cough is a symptom of an underlying condition or disease. Treatment of cough as a symptom is generally with OTC lozenges and liquids. The cause of the cough will be necessary to treat.
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Whooping Cough (Pertussis)Whooping cough (pertussis) is a highly contagious respiratory infection caused by the bacteria Bordetella pertussis. There are an estimated 300,000 plus deaths annually from whooping cough (pertussis). Whooping cough commonly affects infants and young children but can be prevented with immunization with the vaccine. First stage whooping cough symptoms are a runny nose, sneezing, low-grade fever, a mild cough with the cough gradually becoming more severe. After one to two weeks, the second stage of whooping cough begins.
Pregnancy Flu Shot Side Effects and SafetyThe flu shot is safe for pregnant women and protects both mother and unborn baby from illness. Pregnant women should not, however, receive the nasal-spray flu vaccine.
What Happens if a Pregnant Woman Gets a Cold?Having an ordinary cold shouldn't be harmful to the baby or mother. Pregnant women are highly likely to pick up a cold at some time during pregnancy because it's normal to catch two or three colds a year. A healthy lifestyle is a must to keep the immune system strong and to prevent colds.