While pregnancy comes with its own set of woes, getting a sinus infection while pregnant can be particularly nasty to deal with.
A sinus infection while pregnant normally occurs because of a few things that happen to our bodies for the duration of the pregnancy.
One of the main culprits tends to be the fact that our body has to suppress a few select parts of the immune system so that our very own growing child isn’t recognized as foreign matter that doesn’t belong there.
Not to mention that we have to funnel off some of our own immune system to our child to protect them from being affected by potential illness that’ll get the baby in distress.
All of this means that our own health becomes compromised and a lot more vulnerable to bacterial or viral infection because the immune system is either spread all over the place or it’s being actively stifled by your own body.
Combine that with any other pregnancy pains and you’re in for a rough time as sinusitis is a real torment when it strikes.
It’s just the right amount of bothersome without being dangerous to your health, though it can be in more severe cases.
The worst part is that, because you’re pregnant, you’re barred from using some of the more traditional remedies and medicines due to a potential risk for the baby and his overall development.
So, how do you deal with a sinus infection while pregnant?
Well, lucky for you, there are plenty of other over-the-counter and home remedies that are still viable. Let’s find out what they are and how to deal with sinusitis in general.
Dealing With A Sinus Infection While Pregnant
1. Know the difference between a regular sinus infection and pregnancy-related nasal congestions
It isn’t uncommon for pregnant women to suffer a blockage in their nasal passages and consequently, postnasal drip as well.
This is what’s known as pregnancy rhinitis.
This is due to the increased circulation of any and all membranes and blood vessels in our bodies that make our bodies swell. This swelling also affects the mucous membranes that are located in our noses and that ends up leading to a very stuffy nose.
This feeling has the potential to linger throughout your entire pregnancy period.
And, what’s worse, the symptoms are only going to worsen if you get an actual sinus infection.
Should you start noticing any of these symptoms, the safest thing you can do is contact your doctor so he/she can properly diagnose whether it’s an infection or a pregnancy-related symptom.
2. Know the symptoms of a sinus infection
While most symptoms of sinusitis are shared with the common cold and it usually occurs alongside it, there are a few differences.
Also, note that the symptoms your body experiences might be different from that of others.
Most people do, however, typically experience the following:
- An irritated/sore throat
- A stuffy/blocked nose
- A runny nose
- Facial pain caused by sinus pressure from congested nasal passages
- Sinus headaches caused by congestion
- Low-grade fever
- A general feeling of weakness
- Sinus discharge
- A dry/wet cough
- Black ulcers in more severe cases
- Loss of sense of smell/taste
- Sinus congestion
3. Differentiating between acute and chronic sinusitis
So, not only is there a regular sinus infection. You can have one that’s either acute or chronic.
The acute version of sinusitis is the one we’re all very familiar with.
This is the one that comes in full force with its symptoms, makes doing anything a living nightmare and then passes in a few days up to 2 weeks.
This form of sinus infection usually comes along with some form of allergy or the common cold. It usually consists of a stuffy nose, facial pain, and a nasal drip that causes that annoying tickle in your throat that irritates it and forces dry coughs.
When a more severe one strikes, the weakened immune system of a pregnant woman can make her more prone to allergens as well so don’t be surprised if you develop a temporary allergy to something new for the duration of your pregnancy.
Meanwhile, chronic sinusitis is a different beast. It can last up to several months!
While the symptoms are slightly less severe, they’ll come and go in bouts which is bound to put a lot of strain on your already weakened immune system.
And if that happens, it may lead to worse ailments, so it’s important to keep yourself safe and treated the best way possible.
And therein lies the problem of what is safe to use as treatment as some remedies aren’t recommended for use when you’re pregnant.
Types Of Sinus Infections
The first thing is to determine the source of the sinus infection as some remedies won’t work for different sources.
The 3 different potential sources are:
The fungal one is particularly nasty as it comes with the added symptom of those black ulcers on your throat that I mentioned earlier.
Remedies That Are Safe To Use For Treating A Sinus Infection While Pregnant
You’ll be happy to know that you are allowed to use some over the counter medications to help relieve the intensity of the symptoms. As long as you follow the instructions labeled properly and you listen to your doctor’s advice.
The main OTC medication is acetaminophen also known as Tylenol, a common pain reliever that’ll help lessen those nasty sinus headaches and relieve a sore throat.
The other remedies depend on your situation and how well your body reacts to some of them.
These other remedies are:
- various decongestants
- cough suppressants
- various nasal sprays
Again, don’t go around trying every remedy you’re aware of as that’ll only make matters worse.
Use caution until you’re properly diagnosed and prescribed the correct remedy because you are only capable of guessing when it comes to figuring out the source of your sinus infection and you have a little one to think about too.
The use of a humidifier during a bout of sinusitis is bound to help clear your nasal passages and help alleviate throat soreness in many cases, accelerating the healing process.
The importance of nasal irrigation should also not be undervalued as nasal sprays are lifesavers in many of these cases. They are great in helping clear up a blocked up nose so you don’t have to breathe through your mouth.
Vitamin C, while normally recommended, won’t do you much good when you’re already infected, but it’s good as a prevention method.
If you were taking it through supplements or ingesting it via fruits and other sources prior to the sinus infection, you’re likely to suffer the symptoms for less time than others.
What Not To Take For A Sinus Infection While Pregnant
Aspirin is a big no when it comes to remedying sinusitis, as well as Ibuprofen that might be better known as Advil in some places.
These remedies will cause more trouble than they’re worth because they’ve been known to cause complications in pregnancy, some of which can even lead to miscarriage.
Homemade And Natural Remedies To Consider As Alternatives During Pregnancy
Proper healthcare these days doesn’t just revolve around hospitals and the like. There are some things that you can make at home or find in the natural remedies line at an apothecary that could help you out.
Processes as simple as increasing the intake of liquids can be a massive help when fighting a sinus infection while pregnant.
Try sticking to warm liquids such as warm teas, chicken soups and other broths, heated water, and the like to help the body adjust to them more quickly and not irritate the throat.
Though, juices made from citrus fruits that carry some of that vitamin C will also help in speeding your recovery up and alleviating some symptoms.
Just don’t let yourself become dehydrated as that’ll only worsen the situation.
The same goes for food. Don’t believe the old wives’ tale of “Feed a cold, starve a fever” as in both cases your body is looking for a source of energy to draw from and fight this infection off.
That’s why it’s important to maintain proper nutrition at all times during the affected period.
While yes, you are likely to suffer from a loss of appetite which is going to make consuming a meal-sized portion very difficult, try eating more meals with smaller portions. It’ll help make the process a lot easier.
A good way to rid yourself of a stuffy nose is to steam your face with a bowl of hot water.
The steam will melt through the mucus and help clear your nasal passages up.
Vapor rubs, either store-bought or homemade, are also good for dealing with symptoms of a sinus infection while pregnant as long as you stick to the right items that won’t cause any potential complications.
The most common homemade vapor rub is made with beeswax and a mix of different essential oils, the most beneficial ones being tea tree oil and eucalyptus oil.
It is important to be careful which essential oils you use as some can be unsafe for use during pregnancy, such as fennel, clary sage, marjoram, tarragon, caraway, cinnamon, thuja, mugwort, birch, wintergreen, basil (estragole CT), camphor, hyssop, aniseed, sage, tansy, wormwood, parsley seed or leaf, and pennyroyal.
Also, if you’re blowing your nose, make sure that you don’t blow too hard as that only risks damaging your nasal membranes. This can cause an annoying itch to develop as they get irritated from being exposed to open air.
Just do one nostril at a time and blow gently.
I know you want to get all that yellow mucus out at once, but it’s better to be safe than sorry later.
And you don’t need any extra little bothers to worry about.
A good way of lessening the effects of a sore throat is to get some hard candy to suck on to help coat your throat and prevent further irritation or by making warm salt water and gargling to help soothe it.
To lower the chances of postnasal drip when you go to bed, always add a few extra pillows and make sure that you’re sleeping in an elevated position.
This is to avoid said postnasal drip from hitting your throat and irritating it further, making nasty coughs when you wake up less probable.
And finally, the best piece of advice that I can give you is to remember to get plenty of bed rest.
Don’t continue walking around the house thinking you have things to do, ask others to do them for you.
After all, now you have two good reasons to not exert yourself on anything other than healing and keeping your baby safe.
This way, you help keep your immune system strong and make it less likely for the symptoms to last too long.
Fighting off a sinus infection while pregnant is a battle with many of our best weapons taken away from us because we also have to make sure our precious little baby stays safe during this period.
Luckily, a pregnant momma’s arsenal is still packed with all sorts of goodies that she can utilize to win this battle, but it’s always important to consult your doctor or any other qualified healthcare professional before trying any of them.
Overall, the most important thing is to stay put, have a big box of tissues nearby, some warm tea, a bowl of warm chicken noodle soup, and a bunch of pillows behind your back when you lay in bed.
Make sure you’re comfortable, well-hydrated, and eating nutritious meals throughout the day and you’ll be done with this sinus infection in no time!
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