It is extremely important to know the difference between a “cold” and “the flu.”
Cause: several different viruses: adenovirus, RSV virus, etc.
Symptoms: nasal congestion, low grade fever, sore throat, and later a cough with minimally colored mucus
Caused by the Influenza viruses: A, B
Symptoms: fever greater than 101 degrees, chills, muscle aching and extreme prostration (weakness to the point of dizziness and the lack of energy to even stand up), headache, stuffy nose
Both conditions are caused by viruses and cannot be treated with antibiotics (Most antibiotics treat bacterial infections only). ACOG recommends the “flu” vaccine as a safe and an effective first step in the overall prevention of influenza A and B.
a. “Colds” can be treated with Tylenol for headache; lozenges and gargle mouthwashes for sore throat, and medicines such as Tavist D, Mucinex and Robitussin for cough and nasal sprays (Afrin, Neo-Synephrine) for decongestion.
b. “Flu” can be similarly treated as is a cold. The prescription drug, Tamiflu®, has been shown to be safe and effective in shortening the duration and symptoms of flu.
Ibuprofen, Aleve (naproxen) and aspirin can be taken for occasional and limited use during pregnancy but should not be taken during the last 2 months of pregnancy.