Wedding nightmares are a real thing. And for many, one of their biggest real-life fears—being sick on your wedding day—is a reoccurring one. But what about when that nightmare becomes reality? Unlike that dream you keep having when absolutely no one shows up to your ceremony, feeling under the weather or even straight-up sick on the big day is a real possibility. So, it's important to be prepared.
Because no one wants to look pale and sickly when they're supposed to be a blushing bride, Brides spoke with Dr. Judy Tung, section chief of ambulatory internal medicine and chair of the department of medicine at NewYork-Presbyterian Lower Manhattan Hospital, as well as an associate professor of clinical medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine, to find out what to do if you're sick on your wedding day.
Prevention Is Key
With the sleepless nights, stress, and constant activity that leads up to the big day, it's important to keep an eye on your immune system. Preventing wedding-day illness before it happens is key here, according to Tung. "A bride should protect and support her immune system as best as possible by getting enough sleep, good nutrition, adequate hydration, and as much stress reduction as possible. Good hand hygiene is, of course, also a must," Tung advises.
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If You're Already Sick...
If you wake up on the morning of your wedding to find yourself sick, it's important to gauge your symptoms and keep an eye out for anything concerning.
Tung says that if you did contract an infection, alarming symptoms to be aware of—and which should not be ignored—"include high fevers over 103 degrees, evidence of dehydration (dizziness, dry mouth, infrequent urination, weakness), cardiopulmonary compromise (shortness of breath, wheezing, chest pain), and confusion or severe lethargy." Any and all of these symptoms need to be brought to the attention of your doctor or health care provider right away. This is because, Tung says, "Some treatments are time sensitive, including the use of antivirals for influenza, and need to be administered within 48 hours of symptoms to be effective."
Manage Your Symptoms
Despite feeling sick, if none of your symptoms are extremely alarming, there are of course ways you can still enjoy your wedding. And luckily, adrenaline and excitement may just keep you going for most of the evening, too.
To minimize your symptoms, Tung advises the following over-the-counter options—so long as you don't have any preexisting conditions that prohibit their use, and you avoid alcohol consumption if advised by the product warnings.
- For fevers and body aches, Tung advises taking take acetaminophen (Tylenol) up to 1,000mg, Ibuprofen up to 600mg, or Naprosyn up to 440mg every eight hours.
- For a runny nose, she suggests Loratidine (Claritin) 10mg, Fexofenadine (Allegra) 180mg, or Cetirizine (Zyrtec) 10mg once daily.
- For nasal congestion, try Pseudoephedrine at 60mg or Phenylephrine 10mg every six hours.
- And for a cough that won't quit, Tung recommends Guaifenesin (Mucinex) 600mg twice daily (as an expectorant) and/or Dextromethorphan 30mg twice daily (as a suppressant).
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Before stocking your at-home pharmacy, though, Tung notes, "Many of these medicines come packaged in combination cold and flu formulations, but understanding which symptoms each is directed towards can help a bride keep up her energy, avoid use of unnecessary medications, and enjoy her wedding." So, only treat the symptoms you are currently experiencing. And as always, it's a good idea to run any concerns by your physician first.