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Protect Your Baby Against This Year’s Cold And Flu Season


Influenza, which is considered as a mere runny nose and sore throat, is a virus that can cause serious illness. It has a predisposition to be very dangerous and make your baby sick. It can be spread very easily through breathing the virus when someone with flu coughs, sneezes or speaks in the vicinity of you.
People, especially babies can also get infected if they touch something that has the flu virus on it and then touches their eyes, mouth or nose.

The first reason is related to the fact that your baby can’t get a flu vaccine until they’re six months old. As a result, the best wall of protection for your toddler is to limit their contact with people who have already the influenza virus.

That’s why every parent should be vigilant and look out everyone and everything surrounding their baby. Make sure they have been vaccinated, before they approach your baby. Remember, this is not being overprotective. There are serious reasons why you should be very cautious when it comes to the flu season.

The second reason to be cautious according to Flor M. Munoz, MD, associate professor of pediatric infectious diseases at Baylor College of Medicine, is because babies and preschoolers are at a higher risk for developing complications such as pneumonia when they get the influenza virus. She says, “Children under age 5 and adults over age 65 are the groups most at risk of being hospitalized or dying from the flu. Babies don’t have a mature immune system yet—they’re still figuring out how to fight infection. Their little lungs are still developing, they get more inflammation, and it takes longer for them to recover.”

Even people with no flu, have to be careful washing hands before holding your baby.

So, before you let your friends, family, or any other guest come to your house, ask them a question: Did you get your flu shot? or if they are already sick, you better say not to come over your house. Better safe than sorry, they say.

According to Munoz, make sure you and people around you have an updated TDaP vaccine, which protects against pertussis (also known as a whooping cough). “As an adult, if you get whooping cough you might be walking around with a terrible cough but otherwise you don’t feel too bad,” she says. “If a baby gets whooping cough, he could die.” So, no matter if they had that vaccine times ago, the immunity wears off, and the CDC recommends getting a new shot every 10 years. Meanwhile, mothers should get one in the third trimester each time they are pregnant.

Munoz continues explaining that this is a conversation which should be made before you let people spend time with your baby. Make sure to remind them about the flu shots and TDaP. “Ideally, this is a conversation you should have with the grandparents early on, not just as they are getting in the car to meet the new baby at the hospital…,” Munoz explains.

“Call them up and say, ‘The best gift you can give my baby is to help her stay healthy. Here’s the name of a pharmacy right near your house where you can get your flu shot,’” Munoz suggests. She continues explaining that one of the benefits of breastfeeding your baby is you actually protect them by passing on additional antibodies. “But by getting your own vaccines, you’ve already done your part to protect your baby,” she adds.

But, in case your newborn or infant has already got the flu, help him get lots of rest and drink plenty of fluids. Try giving him small meals to help his body get better and always consult a doctor before giving any medicine.

Source: Realsimple