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People generally consider the flu and cold to be the same thing. But the flu can result in serious health problems such as bacterial infections, pneumonia, and more. When you have a runny nose, sore throat, or other such symptoms, get it examined by a doctor as prevention is key. Visit Sarnia Pharmacy to get yourself and your family immunized against influenza. We have certified pharmacists in our team to give you influenza vaccines. You can also visit our flu clinic for medications and advice.
Treating Cold and Flu During Pregnancy
Is It Dangerous To Have A Cold Or Flu During Pregnancy?
When a cold strikes during pregnancy, it does not really represent a health risk to the mother or her unborn child, even if it momentarily compromises the well-being and quality of life of the person affected by it.
The same cannot be said about the flu (or influenza), which carries serious complication risks throughout pregnancy. These complications may result in respiratory problems (such as pneumonia) and lead to hospitalization. In aggravated cases, there is a risk of premature labour and even the death of the mother and fetus.
Canadian public health authorities recommend that all pregnant women must be vaccinated against influenza, regardless of the stage of their pregnancy, to prepare for flu season (starting in October and November). Additionally, it is advisable to treat pregnant women with antiviral medication if they have the flu. You should see a doctor if you think you have the flu.
Both cold and flu are contagious viral respiratory infections. Therefore, they cannot be treated with an antibiotic, unless they are accompanied by a bacterial infection such as otitis, sinusitis, bronchitis, or pneumonia. The best way to prevent these types of infections is to adopt effective hygiene measures, such as frequent handwashing. It is also important to avoid close contact with infected persons.
How Can You Differentiate Between Cold and Flu During Pregnancy?
The most common cold symptoms include:
Whereas the typical symptoms of the flu are:
These symptoms are variable in nature and intensity. They generally get resolved themselves within 10 to 14 days. Treatment of cold and flu is mainly based on adequate rest and symptom relief. Please make note that taking medication can give you relief from symptoms but does not speed up the recovery process.
Medications and Safety Measures for a Pregnant Woman and her Fetus
Follow the below steps to get relief from cold and flu:
If you are pregnant, always talk to your doctor before taking any kind of medication, health supplements, and natural health products. As many products are available in the market with different ingredients, vigilance is the key.
When Should You See a Doctor?
If you experience the following symptoms, please see a doctor:
Fight Cold and Flu Symptoms
How Can a Cold or the Flu Be Treated?
Cold and flu are both caused by viruses, and therefore antibiotics are not an effective way to treat them. The best way is to focus on prevention which includes washing hands frequently and avoiding close contact with infected individuals.
Our immune system generally fights with cold and flu. But the symptoms of cold and flu can be eased by taking proper rest and adequate fluids and using some recommended over-the-counter medication until you get better.
Nasal Congestion, Runny Nose, and Sneezing
Using a decongestant pill or nasal spray can have side effects. Hence, it’s recommended not to take these before bedtime. But you can take a decongestant containing an antihistamine to get relief from watery eyes, runny nose, and sneezing.
Nasal sprays are habit-forming and should be used to a maximum of 5 days consecutively. However, saline nasal sprays, rinses or drops, are a good natural option and can be used for people of all ages including babies and young children.
Dextromethorphan (DM) is generally used for dry cough. But if you have lung problems, it is recommended to consult your pharmacist before taking a medicine containing DM.
Cough syrup with guaifenesin can be a good expectorant if you have a moist cough. This medication can be available combined with DM and menthol.
Muscle Aches, Fever, Headaches and Sore Throat
Acetaminophen has a safe profile that can be used for muscle aches, headaches, fever, and sore throat. Ibuprofen, though recommended can have side effects and is not suitable for everyone. Ask your healthcare professional before you have it over-the-counter. You can also have lozenges for sore throat. Ask your pharmacist for the wide range of lozenges available in the market.
Some products also combine various kinds of medication in a single formulation. Consult your doctor before taking them as they might not be suitable for you. Your pharmacist or medical professional can recommend medicines according to health, age, medical history, and other medications that you might be already taking.
Cold and Flu: How to Tell Them Apart
Flu or Cold?
Flu and cold are two different infections caused by different viruses. The flu is caused by the influenza virus and a common cold can be caused by different kinds of viruses, but the most common virus belongs to the rhinovirus family.
What Are the High-risk Periods?
Flu and cold can occur anytime especially during fall, winter, and spring. The flu strikes especially during January, February, and March. So, viruses often pass from one person to another during the holiday season.
Viruses responsible for cold and flu are transmitted either by direct contact with a person or infected object. The infections can be contracted when people touch their faces, nose, or rub their eyes. Therefore, it is important to wash your hands when the risk of transmission is high.
Vaccination against the flu is available. You can talk to your pharmacist to learn more about the advantages and disadvantages. Fall is the best time for this vaccine. However, there is no vaccine available for a cold.
Symptoms of Cold and Flu
Symptoms of a cold are:
Some of the symptoms of flu are:
What to Do to Ease Symptoms?
As flu and cold are viral infections, antibiotics have no effect on them. The immune system should fight against the infection. However, you can ease the symptoms using some over-the-counter medications and products such as analgesics, expectorants, decongestants, saline solutions, and more.
Who Should Go for a Flu Shot?
The Flu Isn’t Just a Cold
The change of season especially the transition between autumn and winter make us more vulnerable to the flu virus, which is highly contagious. Flu is a more severe infection compared to the common cold. The symptoms are too sudden that include:
What Can Be a Complication?
Flu can cause major complications such as pneumonia that may need hospitalization. Even death may occur in some serious cases. Therefore, it’s recommended to get flu shots for people who are considered to be at risk.
Vaccination is the safest way to deal with the flu and its complications. So, we recommend that everyone should consider vaccinating themselves every year. But before taking the vaccination, you should talk to your doctor or pharmacist to know about the pros and cons of it.
Anyone above 6 months can take the flu shot. But it becomes important if you belong to any of the following groups:
You can ask your pharmacist for further queries.
Spend Your Winter Cold Free
Common Cold - A Frequent Occurrence in the Winter
The common cold is highly contagious. It spreads especially when people meet with each other during the holiday season. People mostly get affected with a cold during the winter, and it cannot be prevented by vaccination. But, once you get infected by a cold, you can rely on your immune system to fight it. Certain measures when taken can also help to strengthen defense mechanisms of the body.
The cold generally gets resolved on its own within a week or two. Some of its symptoms include:
How to Avoid Getting a Cold
Below are some of the tips to reduce the risk of a cold:
Daily cleansing of nasal passages using saline water can be helpful for people of all ages. It is also beneficial for babies and young children who cannot blow their nose. Cleansing the nasal passage helps in reducing risks of otitis, sinusitis, along with sneezing, runny nose and congestion.
Remedies and Medication for Treating a Cold
There is no particular treatment to get rid of the cold. But, you can reduce the symptoms with several over-the-counter measures such as:
How to Relieve Nasal Congestion?
Causes of Nasal Congestion
Nasal congestion is caused mostly due to excessive nasal secretions and also due to the swelling of numerous blood vessels in the nose. Due to this, the nasal passages become narrow and are blocked by secretions.
Congestion can be caused due to the following factors:
Medications That Can Be Used to Relieve Nasal CongestionFirstly, the reason for the congestion should be identified and eliminated. If the congestion is due to allergy, the exposure to the allergen should be avoided. For sinus infections, you can take antibiotics. Common cold can be healed only by itself.
Relieving Nasal Congestion in Young ChildrenBabies in their first year are unable to blow their noses. And nasal congestion can cause them discomfort especially compromising their ability to sleep and eat. But during early childhood, it’s important to ensure that you can clear the little one’s symptoms with a drug-free option.
Best Drug-free MeasuresSome of the drug-free measures to decongest your nasal passage include: