Influenza virus infection, morecommonly known as flu, is a condition which affects a person throughspecific symptoms, resembling those of a common cold, but being moresevere. Therefore, if a person suffers from flu, he/she is bestto seek timely medical treatment, managing to overcome this conditiontimely. However, if flu appears duringpregnancy, the treatment may not be an easy task due to the fact thatit is not safe for pregnant women to take many types of medications,since the side effect may be harmful to the child they are carrying.
Pregnancy Should be without Flu
Flu usually appears during seasonalchanges – in the fall and in the winter. However, every year, new,mutated types of this virus appear and affect people in ways thathave never been seen nor treated before, posing a potential dangerbecause of the unknown symptoms.
The main symptoms of flu are muscle andjoint pain, most commonly appearing in the limbs and in the back,headaches, fever and sweating, lethargy and tiredness, sore throatand sneezing, along with nasal congestion and a general loss ofappetite.
Once these symptoms strike a person,he/she usually cannot overcome flu for about a week. In fact,many people find it impossible to leave the bed, once they sufferfrom this condition.
However, as far as pregnancy isconcerned, it usually results in a jeopardized immune system of thefuture mother, making her more susceptible to illnesses, especiallythose like the common cold, flu or problems with thegastrointestinal tract. Due to the same fact, the symptoms pregnantwomen endure during illnesses are more severe and remain present forlonger period of time. Therefore, a simple flu infection can easilyevolve into a more serious condition such as pneumonia, potentiallybeing a deadly illness.
Pregnant women usually suffer fromnasal congestion, due to the changes that affect their bodies. Thisstate of affairs results in a build-up of mucus. So, once flu strikesas well, the nasal congestion becomes even worse. Unfortunately,nasal decongestants, which are usually the choice for people whosuffer from this problem, are potentially dangerous for pregnantwomen and should be avoided. Therefore, a relief from thissituation is hardly possible, even though there has been no researchstudies conducted proving that nasal decongestants are hazardous for pregnantwomen.
Yet, bearing in mind that suchmedications contain chemicals which can cause drowsiness, potentiallytransferring this effect onto the fetus through the placenta, theyare not recommended.
Therefore, pregnant women are advisedto opt for some alternative methods of dealing with nasalcongestion. Steam exposure is one of the safest and best choices,along with hot compresses held on the nasal area, making the mucussofter and easier to expel.
However, the problems do not end here,when it comes to suffering from flu during pregnancy. Namely, flubrings about fever and pain. In order for you to get rid of thesesymptoms, you are advised to consult your doctor since, in somecases, using paracetamol and acetaminophen can be safe for you.
Most health experts agree thatprevention is better than any possible cure, suggesting that women,before they become pregnant, should get vaccinated against flu.
Flu in Early and Late Pregnancy
As the lines above suggest, flu isa condition which should not be taken lightly during pregnancy.Rather, pregnant women should do their best to prevent this virusfrom affecting them, especially women who are already affected bycertain health problems such as asthma.
Moreover, miscarriage can be connectedto flu, even though such occurrences can only be related to moresevere types of this condition.
Even during early stages of yourpregnancy, you are advised to stay away from all friends, familymembers and other people who are infected with flu, showing thesymptoms. This disease is transferable through the air, among othermediums and you should keep yourself and your baby properlyprotected.
On the other hand, women in their latepregnancy are commonly encouraged to take the flu vaccine. Yet, in the vast majority of cases, women refuse to undergo vaccination because,in the past, this process was associated with autism in the newborns.Nevertheless, most health experts recommend vaccination in the secondand third trimester, saying that this is the best possible steptowards protecting oneself.
A study carried out in 1998 discoveredthat women who suffered from flu during pregnancy were more likely toend up in hospitals than other women, potentially risking sufferingfrom severe medical conditions.
Basically, the later the flu appearsduring your pregnancy, the worse the symptoms can get, due to yourcompromised immune system. While medications may not be a goodoption, potentially harming the fetus, most pregnant women,especially those in later stages of their pregnancy are recommendedto get vaccinated against this potentially life-threatening viralinfection.