How to deal with cold and flu season while pregnant

Cold and flu season is a trying time of year for anyone, but it is an especially dangerous time if you're expecting a child.

WebMD reports that the flu and colds can be more severe while pregnant, which can lead to more advanced complications. While the flu isn't likely to hurt your baby, there are easy ways to avoid it this fall to ensure that your healthy pregnancy keeps going strong.

1. Get a flu shot!

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control reports flu shots given during pregnancy can protect both the mother and her baby for several months after birth from flu. Furthermore, the CDC recommends that pregnant women should receive a flu shot no matter what pregnancy trimester they are in to protect against the illness.

(Rest assured, the cost associated with a flu shot is an FSA-eligible expense.)

2. Minimize your exposure to germs

Your parents were right all along! The best possible protection against cold and flu viruses is to wash your hands as often as possible, keep a bottle of hand sanitizer handy, and avoid any unnecessary events that could expose you to higher levels of pathogens, reports Fit Pregnancy.

While you shouldn't become a recluse or alter your daily routine, use good judgment. Public transportation and family gatherings should be safe, but going to a large public event may be too big of a risk. And again, be sure to wash your hands every chance you get!

3. Boost your cleaning regimen

Germs around the home also pose a concern when you're expecting, so make a commitment to cleaning your home early and often. The more frequently you clean and dust, the less likely it will be that germs take up residence in your home.

It's also a good idea to put hand sanitizer near the door, so you can eliminate germs before spreading them through your home. And disinfectant sprays and solutions can be really handy for killing germs in high-traffic areas like kitchens and bathrooms.

If you do get the flu...

First don't panic. But it is important to respond quickly by following these steps:

  • First, know the flu warning signs. According to the Mayo Clinic, influenza is a viral infection that is known to affect the respiratory system, leading to persistent cough, fever, muscle aches, chills/sweats, and nasal congestion.
  • Call your doctor as quickly as possible. Prescription antiviral drugs can make flu symptoms milder and help to prevent future complications, and they are most effective if taken within 48 hours of when symptoms start.
  • In extreme cases, if you experience symptoms such as dizziness, breathing difficulties, vomiting or confusion, seek emergency medical attention.

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