Dr I am five months pregnant and ever since I got pregnant I have been having this disturbing flu which I have treated with prednisone, septrin, goffen and honey without success. So what is the best I can take? — Daphin
Flu is a common slang for a common cold, a viral infection which usually affects the nose and throat. As many as 200 different types of viruses can cause a common cold although rhinoviruses and human coronaviruses are most involved.
Common colds are usually more of a nuisance than harmful in many people but for smokers, the pregnant or those with lowered immunity, they can be more serious or prolonged.
That said drugs for flu are usually self-prescribed or given over the counter and in pregnant women especially when taken during the first three months of pregnancy when the unborn baby’s organs are forming, the drugs can prove to be more harmful than the flu.
Although some colds can linger on for as long as two weeks, most clear up within a week. So having had a cold for five months would be strange, meaning the cause of your symptoms may not be a mere cold but some other condition.
Many women suffer from a runny or congested nose or keep sneezing when they are pregnant because of nasal allergies or the so-called pregnancy rhinitis which may be mistaken for a cold.
Pregnancy rhinitis is partly caused by hormonal changes during pregnancy and swelling of the nasal lining due to increased amounts of blood in the body and therefore the nose itself. This may make the nose not only stuffy but also runny.
During especially the first three months of pregnancy as if to protect the delicate baby, from dangerous substances breathed in air, an expectant woman’s nose may be more sensitive resulting in being runny or stuffy. Fortunately, symptoms of pregnancy rhinitis or nasal allergies usually disappear about two weeks after delivery.
Instead of taking unprescribed drugs such as Goffen that might harm the baby, you should drink plenty of warm fluids, take a warm shower, elevate the head with extra pillows when lying down, exercise in warm weather, avoid irritants such as charcoal, firewood, or cigarette smoke and use iodine free salt (saline) nasal drops. If the measures do not help, please consult with your antenatal clinic or doctor.
Can I take honey when pregnant? I read that children less than one year should not take honey. Can it harm my unborn baby if I take it? Also what about my favoured Kacumbali and cabbage salad when refrigerated?
Kacumbali has its main ingredients as raw tomatoes and raw onions. These may be preferred by some mothers in early pregnancy although for many with morning sickness, their smell may worsen nausea and vomiting symptoms.
Kacumbali and raw vegetables such as cabbage salad are necessary in pregnancy but may have listeria, E. coli and salmonella germs if not properly washed or cleaned. It is therefore important that a pregnant woman cleans the salads in boiled clean water herself to be sure they are safe to consume. She should shun restaurant or house help made salads whose safety they may not be sure of.
Refrigeration does not kill but rather preserves the germs as it does the refrigerated foods.
Pregnant mothers require taking honey because it is very nutritious so that they improve on theirs and unborn baby’s nutrition.
Babies under one year (infants) should avoid eating honey because it may contain spores of clostridia bacteria which may lead to the dangerous infant botulism disease (muscle weakness and trouble breathing among other effects).
Older children, mothers and other adults have natural defenses in their alimentary canals including enough bile acids which can stop clostridial growth, colonization of their guts by enough bacteria that compete with clostridia and can remove the toxins through the body before they cause harm. When mothers eat honey, clostridia will not reach the unborn babies to cause botulism.