Managing Throat Infection (URI) During Pregnancy and Lactation

Common among infections that one encounters is upper respiratory infections (URI). It may manifest as sore throat or flu or common cold. Others are mononucleosis, or infections caused by bacteria such as strep, mycoplasma, or hemophilus.

Most viral URIs accompany flu or colds along with a stuffy, runny nose, sneezing, and generalized aches and pains. These viruses are highly contagious and spread quickly. The body builds antibodies that destroy the virus, a process that takes about a week. While bacteria respond to antibiotic treatment, viruses do not. Infections in the nose and sinuses also can cause URI, because mucus from the nose drains down into the throat and carries the infection with it.

Antibiotics That May Be Taken During Pregnancy 

Not all medicines can be taken during pregnancy and lactation. Many of the medicines we prescribe for common infections cross the blood placental barrier and may affect the fetus adversely. Similarly, some medicines may enter mother’s milk. So, one has to very judiciously prescribe medicines to woman during this phase.

Penicillin or erythromycin are prescribed when one suspects streptococcal or another bacterial infection that responds to them. Antibiotics do not cure viral infections, but viruses do lower the patient’s resistance to bacterial infections. When such a combined infection occurs, antibiotics may be recommended.

Home Remedies

Cough and congestion associated with cold or flu symptoms can be made more comfortable with the following remedies:

  • Increase your liquid intake.
  • Warm tea with honey is a favorite home remedy.
  • Use a steamer or humidifier in your bedroom.
  • Gargle with warm salt water several times daily: ¼ tsp. salt to ½ cup water.
  • Take over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen (Tylenol).

Normally, viral infection improves on its own within 7-10 days. Consult a doctor if you see any deterioration in condition.