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If you’re expecting or have a little one, winter illness can be confusing – here’s what you need to know

“Colds and flu are no fun whatever your age, but they can be especially tricky when you’re pregnant or a parent, as you don’t know what’s safest to use,” says Esra Doganguzel from Tesco Pharmacy. “These tips and facts should help you know what’s what – and if you need more information, just head in store and ask a member of the pharmacy team.”

1. More than 200 viruses can cause a cold, so it’s possible for your child to catch several colds one after the other, as a different virus may cause each one. If you’re pregnant, you may find you catch colds more easily too, as your body is focused on feeding and growing your baby.

2. Although lots of medications are off-limits when you’re expecting, you could find relief from saline nasal spray, steam inhalation and hot drinks – try grating root ginger into hot manuka honey for a throat-soothing drink.

3. It’s vital to keep little ones with a cold hydrated. If your baby’s fontanelle (top of their head) is sunken, they have dry lips or darker urine than normal, see your GP as these are signs of dehydration.

4. There’s still no cure for the common cold, but specially-designed pain relief such as Calpol can help with the symptoms (for babies over two months). You could also download the Calpol app to your phone for handy advice and tips to help you take care of your child when they’re poorly.

5. Colds are viral so antibiotics won’t help. If your little one is bringing up green phlegm they may have an infection, which will need medication from a doctor.

6. Flu is more severe than a cold and extra symptoms include a high fever over 38°C, tiredness, chills, aches and a dry, chesty cough. You can find more extensive information on flu symptoms on the NHS website.

7. To help a young baby clear their nose, try a pure sea water nasal spray or use a nasal aspirator to manually suck the mucus out – ah, the joys of parenthood…

8. If your baby is older than 12 months old, you could also try safely raising the cot at one end – for example, with a pillow under the mattress – to help them breathe more easily with a blocked nose.

9. A cold will usually last between a week and 14 days. Little ones will need plenty of rest and may be more clingy than usual – a great excuse for lots of cuddles.

10. Prevention can be better than cure, and if you’re expecting, your local Tesco Pharmacists could give you a flu jab for free – just ask in store for details.

CALPOL® Infant Sugar Free Suspension for pain and fever relief contains Paracetamol, can be used in infants from 2 months old (weighing over 4kg and not premature). CALCOUGH® Infant Syrup contains Glycerol, can be used in infants from 3 months old. Always read the label