13 Home Remedies for Cold and Flu – Pregnancy friendly


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When you have a cold or flu you often feel pretty helpless, as it’s just a matter of waiting for the virus to run it’s course. Even more so when you’re pregnant, you feel like there’s nothing you can do to ease the cold and flu symptoms. There’s no need to splash out on expensive pills and potions when there are so many proven home remedies out there. I’ve done some research and here are (at least)13 home remedies for colds and flu that are also safe in pregnancy. If you’re breastfeeding, use mint with caution, as it can have an effect on milk production. You can also use a lot of the over the counter treatments, just check with the pharmacist. Anything with Guaifenisin (often found in cough medicine) thins mucous, but it also thins cervical mucous, so can be dangerous in pregnancy.

1 Saline Nasal Rinse

If you’re feeling really congested, try a saline wash out. Ever seen those saline drops for babies? It’s the same principal. You can make your own solution really easily at home with table salt. Find a suitable instrument to get it up the nose, one of those syringes for administering Calpol is perfect! A whole new mom has a great post on the whys and wherefores of a saline nasal rinse.

2 Honey and Lemon

Don’t knock the old remedies, there’s a reason they’ve been going so long. They actually have some benefit. Honey has long been used for it’s antimicrobial properties, plus it will soothe your throat and suppress that cough reflex. Why not add some fresh Thyme in, which is a natural antiseptic, antibacterial and expectorant. To make your own natural cough and cold drink that is better than any cough medicine you can buy for a fraction of the cost, just boil some water, add lemon and honey to taste. Add ginger if you like it.

3 Salt water gargling

This is particularly good for a sore throat and one I used when I suffered from Tonsillitis as a young adult. Use a pint of cooled boiled or purified water with a teaspoon of salt dissolved into it and gargle as often as necessary. You can also gargle with Aspirin, which acts as a local anaesthetic, but you should ask your health care provider before doing this if you’re pregnant, due to the mild blood thinning properties.

4 Eucalyptus essential oil

Eucalyptus oil has long been used as a home remedy for colds and flu. If you’re pregnant, use it sparingly. You can use it in a variety of ways, so it’s really useful to have a bottle of Eucalyptus oil in your medicine cabinet. It acts as an expectorant (helps move mucous), it’s anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-septic, astringent, antispasmodic, plus it has analgesic (pain killing) properties according to The Health Site. Use it straight onto a handkerchief (not a tissue) and keep it on hand to inhale throughout the day, although don’t use that hankie to blow your nose as it might irritate it. You can also use it in steam inhalation:

5 Steam inhalation

Boil some water and put it in a bowl, add a drop or two of eucalyptus oil (optional). For adults, leave it close to you so you can inhale the steam. For children, leave the bowl out of reach and just let the steam and eucalyptus permeate the air. The steam loosens the mucous in your nose and lungs ready to be expelled. You could just add a couple of lemon wedges and let the steam do its job.

6 Paracetamol and Caffeine

A lot of those Paracetamol plus and cold and flu tablets that you pay a premium for are just paracetamol with added caffeine and sometimes a decongestant. You don’t really need the decongestant if you use the natural remedies above, so just take some non branded paracetamol as pain relief for your sore throat and aches and pains, with a cup of tea or coffee or perhaps an energy drink if that’s your preferred option. The caffeine helps with the absorption of the paracetamol and will perk you up.

7 Ginger

Ginger is a natural antiviral which helps to fight against illness and bacteria that causes cold. It helps to stimulate perspiration that cleanses the system and brings down body temperature, plus it contains antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties which help to boost your immune system. Ginger acts as an antihistamine and decongestant that helps to ease colds symptoms and contains chemicals called sesquiterpenes which are specifically used to target viruses that are responsible for the common cold. Did you know ginger is also a natural pain and fever reducer and also a mild sedative? Try ginger tea and using ginger in cooking, if you don’t like the taste there are ginger supplements, or rub some on your feet!

8 Garlic

Apparently, eating raw garlic will help reduce the time you have a cold and flu and can stop you getting one. Studies show that people who took garlic supplements regularly had less episodes of cold and flu and on average suffered the symptoms for 1 day less. Cooking with garlic will still have some benefits if you can’t stomach it raw. You’ll be staying away from people anyway so who cares if you smell?

9 Mint and menthol

A lot of over the counter remedies contain mint, especially peppermint. A mint tea will help – the warmth of the drink will make you feel better and the peppermint is antimicrobial, antiviral and contains antioxidants. Mix 2 tablespoons of Vaseline with a drop of peppermint essential oil and use it as a rub or to soothe your sore nose and it’ll work wonders.

If you're pregnant with a cold or flu, you feel miserable. Most women suffer thinking they can't take anything, but there are medicines and remedies that are safe if used correctly. Always consult your doctor or midwife. It will pass on it's own, but these remedies will ease the symptoms. Click through to find out about the different safe remedies you can take when you have a cold or flu in pregnancy

10 Echinacea

Echinacea is said to boost the immune system and reduce inflammation. It’s also proven to reduce cold and flu symptoms and even lower your risk of developing a cold by more than 50%. Click here for more information, plus more natural cold and flu home remedies and a recipe using Echinacea with Elderberry and Goldenseal.

11 Honeysuckle

According to a study in 2014 written about in The Telegraph, drinking Honeysuckle tea can suppress flu symptoms by producing a molecule which attacks the flu virus’ way of replicating. You can get them at health food shops or online.

11 Rest!

It’s hard, especially if you’ve got work deadlines, family commitments and children to look after, but try calling in favours from friends and family to help you get the rest you need to recover fully. They say it takes a village to raise a child, find your ‘village,’ and life will be much easier.

12 Water

Keep hydrated, drink plenty as you will be losing fluid. This will also help combat headaches and make you feel better. Being well hydrated will ease congestion too, and warm liquids will speed up the movement of  mucous through the nose, according to The Mayo Clinic. A hot water and lemon (with honey) is perfect.

13 Good Nutrition

Eating foods that are rich in antioxidants such as tomatoes, spinach, kale, peppers, and good old fashioned chicken soup will help either stave off a cold or shorten it. There’s a reason chicken soup is known as Jewish Penicillin – there has been a study done by the american college of chest physicians, which shows a mild effect on the inflammation in upper respiratory tract infections. For some yummy chicken soup recipes, get some inspiration here 

Disclosure: This is a collaborative post with Bathing Solutions. All opinions are my own. Not intended as a replacement for medical advice. If you’re pregnant, consult you healthcare provider before taking any medicines.

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If you're struck down by cold and flu during pregnancy, it's no fun! There are medicines and remedies you can take to alleviate your symptoms, and we have the complete list for you right here! Just click through to the blog post and you will already be feeling a bit better. Get well soon! #pregnancy #cold #flu #remedies #medicine #medication

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  • Reply Lynne Huysamen

    Thanks for all these awesome home remedies for flu. I’ve always found that the best natural remedy for flu for me is ginger, lemon and honey tea. It always makes me feel better and a little more human again!

    I’ve never heard of the Honeysuckle tea before, it sounds interesting and we have some growing right outside. Do you think I can just throw some of the flowers in hot water to steep or do you suggest buying Honeysuckle tea?

    May 22, 2017 at 11:00 pm
    • Reply Midwife and Life

      I’m not sure about the quantities, probably best to buy the teabags ready made or see a herbalist

      May 24, 2017 at 10:19 am
  • Reply Amy Fox

    This is so helpful! I’m 17 weeks and so full of a cold. Honey and lemon is my favourite, but I’d never thought about coffee and paracetamol together like the tablets! That’s my afternoon coffee sorted today x

    September 21, 2017 at 11:52 am
    • Reply Midwife and Life

      So glad I could help x

      September 21, 2017 at 11:53 am
  • Reply Emma

    Another excellent post! I don’t think anyone can underestimate the power of rest and water!! X

    September 21, 2017 at 12:07 pm
  • Reply Rochelle - www.RhubarbandWren.co.uk

    I had horrible morning (all-day!) sickness when I was pregnant, and pretty much lived on ginger thins biscuits… nice to know they might help with colds as well – I always told everyone they were purely medicinal!

    September 22, 2017 at 1:07 pm
  • Reply Jen

    saline has saved me! Also love elderberry syrup. Thanks for the great list 🙂

    January 9, 2018 at 2:21 am
  • Reply Becca Farrelly

    These are really great ideas as I’m rubbish at taking medication at the best of times. When pregnant (5 months ago now!) I found steam inhalation really effective and of course the old favourite lemon and honey! Someone mentioned Echinacea to me but I have never got round to trying it! 🙂

    June 26, 2018 at 1:07 pm
  • Reply Therese Carter

    I thought elderberry was a no-go during pregnancy? I took it daily for a couple of years before becoming pregnant and was told I should stop… Is that incorrect?

    August 30, 2018 at 3:44 pm
    • Reply Midwife and Life

      There has not been extensive research done on elderberry and pregnancy which is why it is sometimes not recommended, but there is no data suggesting elderberry preparations, including elderberry juice, might have adverse effects during pregnancy or lactation.

      September 5, 2018 at 1:15 pm
  • Reply Nikhil Kumar

    I have had a lot to learn in your post and it is good but you mean to explain it better and by putting some different points in it and the other you have written very well thanks

    Common cold symptoms and some tips

    November 3, 2018 at 1:14 pm
  • Reply aiman khan

    Full loaded blog with all wonderful and amazing remedies that can easily be made at home for effect results if someone caught under cold and flu. Thanks for sharing such a helping article. Thanks for your efforts.
    home remedies for flu and sore throat

    November 28, 2018 at 5:11 pm
  • Reply BeeManDan

    Honey plus curcuma is a great choice!

    June 23, 2019 at 9:56 pm
  • Reply The Moringa Blog

    Im very sensitive to flu and evidently cold. i’ve tried honey and water gargling.. they do help to some extent.. but not a permanent solution.. im still looking for a permanent solution, i’ll try the rest of the remedies you’ve listed

    July 15, 2019 at 10:02 am
    • Reply Midwife and Life

      Colds and flu are viral so nothing will cure them unfortunately, but we can alleviate the symptoms

      July 15, 2019 at 11:36 am
  • Reply Tumpa

    nice to know they might help with colds as well..

    October 13, 2019 at 5:17 pm
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