Pregnancy & Breastfeeding Safe Options for Cold, Flu, & Strep
The common cold and flu are respiratory illnesses caused by different viruses that are spread through droplets when people cough, sneeze, or talk. During stressful seasons where a lot of sugar is consumed, (think: the holidays!) the immune system is compromised making it possible for the common cold and flu to spread quickly and easily. Fortunately, there are many pregnancy and breastfeeding safe options to prevent and treat the common cold and flu. (Pssst! All of these options are great outside of pregnancy and breastfeeding, also, and can dosages can even be reduced for your kiddos!)
It is vital to wash your hands before eating and before touching your eyes, nose, and mouth! Germs are everywhere and the virus may be on surfaces that you touch as you go about your day. Washing your hands is even more vital if you are around someone with the common cold or flu.
Drinking plenty of water is required for our bodies to function properly. Our bodies are 60% water and if we are not adequately hydrated, it effects our immune system and our hormones. If you are drinking holiday beverages or coffee, you need to increase your water intake. Half your body weight in ounces is the minimum you should be drinking.
When we consume refined sugar, our bodies must use a lot of vitamins and minerals to process it. This triggers inflammation and causes metabolic disruption which leads to immune system compromise if there are not enough vitamins and minerals available. Studies have shown that after sugar consumption, there are 50% less white blood cells available to engulf invading viruses and organisms! This was evident the most 2 hours after consumption but also up to 5 hours post consumption of sugar. One of the best ways to prevent contracting the common cold and flu is to avoid consumption of refined sugar as much as possible.
Reduction of stress is so helpful to prevent the common cold and flu. Chronic high levels of stress compromise the immune system and leave it weakened. Eliminating stress may be the hardest way to support the immune system, but it may be the key to preventing the common cold and flu, especially around the holidays. Consider creating a realistic schedule with time to eat healthy and get adequate sleep. Say no to some of the holiday happenings and pick your favorite traditions to enjoy, instead of feeling like you must take part in every invitation.
Take elderberry syrup, gummies, or tincture daily to support your body’s production of viral fighting cells. Elderberries have antiviral and antibacterial properties which studies have shown to prevent and reduce the duration of the common cold and flu. Studies have also shown that elderberries are high in nutritional vitamins and minerals. Follow the dose on the bottle for daily prevention and increase as outlined below when experiencing current symptoms of cold or flu.
Colloidal silver is also a favorite for those looking to prevent cold and flu. Colloidal silver is the suspension of sub-microscopic silver nanoparticles in water and prevents bacterial growth and viruses from entering human cells. Taking the dose recommended on the bottle each day is a great addition to someone’s prevention routine.
Vitamin c is required for phagocytes and T-cells to perform their function and have a healthy immune system. Taking additional vitamin C as a prophylactic prevention of the common can be helpful and reduce the length of the common cold when it is contracted. An additional 500mg vitamin C daily can be quite helpful.
Tip: If you sleep less, drink coffee, consume sugar, or go through a stressful time, or are around someone with the common cold or flu, you may want to go ahead and double your water intake, and increase your dosages of elderberry, colloidal silver, and vitamin C to reduce your likelihood of getting sick.
At the first sign of symptoms:
Evaluate what you are feeling and if you think it may be the common cold, the flu, or allergies. Generally, the common cold will come on gradually beginning with sinus drainage and pressure with post nasal drip. The flu usually comes on suddenly with more severe symptoms. Allergies may be differentiated from either by drainage that is clear and may also include itchy eyes or ears. If immune boosting, or antiviral supplements do not touch your symptoms, it is likely you have allergies. AllerMax by Country Life and Seasonal Allergy Relief by Hyland’s are allergy relief that are safe for pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Whether you have the common cold or flu, it is recommended to take the following natural protocol to reduce the length of the illness and support your immune system in fighting the virus:
5000mg Vitamin C daily
Zinc as directed on bottle every 3-4 hours
One garlic clove minced with a spoonful of honey every 3-4 hours or 6 gel capsules garlic every 3-4 hours
One elderberry dose as directed on bottle every hour or 1 dropperful tincture every hour
One dropperful Echinacea tincture every hour until symptoms discontinue
Drink your body weight in ounces of water
Avoid all sugar and consume nourishing, whole foods only!
Sleep and rest as much as possible until symptoms discontinue
If you have a sore throat it is especially important to take echinacea tincture every hour. This can be effective for sore throat caused by the common cold, flu, or even strep. Echinacea is antiviral and antibacterial and when taken by mouth, can kill strep in the throat on contact. You can even consider making your own echinacea tincture very easily with some planning ahead. Watch this video for more information.
If you are pretty sure you have the flu, considering adding homeopathic Oscillococcinum or if the common cold, add ColdCalm. Both of these natural options reduce the length of the illness and relieve symptoms.
For sinus pressure and drainage, it is vital to use a Neti pot so that you do not develop a sinus infection. Products like Xlear are very easy to use and help your body expel the virus in mucous that the body tries to expel on its own through sneezing and coughing. Decongestants are not recommended during pregnancy or while breastfeeding so a neti pot is your best friend!
For vomiting, especially with the flu, consider homeopathic Nux Vomica 30 or 200c every hour until symptoms resolve.
Tip: Whenever using homeopathics like Cold Calm, Nux Vomica, or any of the other homeopathics mentioned in this article, it is recommended to only drink water 15 minutes before and after taking. Do not consume food 15 minutes before or after as this may cancel out their effect.
For cough, take one dose of Acontium 200 and Bryonia 200 at the same time up to every hour. Consider adding Hepar Sulph 200 alternating with Aconitum 200 and Bryonia 200 if symptoms persist. Influenzinum 30 may also be helpful.
If at any time you are:
Concerned about you or your baby’s safety
Have a fever above 102
Are unable to keep food or water down because of excessive vomiting
Or have any other concerns,
ALWAYS contact your care provider!
Discuss options for cold or flu with your care provider before ingesting any supplements during pregnancy or while breastfeeding.
Are you interested in having a pregnancy and birth where natural options are given every step of the way? Contact us for information about our services and to see if midwifery care is a good fit for you!
Elderberry consumption reduces cold duration: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4848651/
Randomized study on the safety and efficacy of oral elderberry syrup: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15080016
Vitamin C and immune function: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19263912
Bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties of standardized echinacea extract: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20036523