Cold and flu season is always a struggle for babies and parents, with the average child having between six and twelve infections in their first year.

But this year is anything but average, so how can you protect your little one for the next few months?

The most important step new parents can take is to keep the circle of people your baby is exposed to as small as possible. Limit the number of visitors to your home and connect via FaceTime, Skype, or Zoom instead. Make sure anyone touching an infant thoroughly washes their hands first, preferably with soap and water. Bottles of conveniently located hand sanitizer throughout the space your baby occupies are also helpful.

If you must take your baby out of the house, try wearing them close to you in a carrier ­– people are less likely to touch – or put a cover over their stroller/seat to keep outsiders at a distance.

Other helpful steps are frequently disinfecting all items that come in contact with the baby, making sure everyone in the family gets their immunizations and flu shots, and continuing breast feeding. (Babies who breastfeed exclusively for six months have been shown to have 63% fewer serious colds and ear and throat infections.)

The Covid virus and how it might impact littles beyond a normal cold or flu has of course been a great concern for parents in 2020. Contacting your doctor if your baby is less than 3 months old and has a fever is standard protocol any time, and continues this year. In toddlers and older children, many symptoms of a seasonal cold/flu are the same that present for /Covid. You can visit the CDC’s website and use the Covid Self-Checker tool when assessing whether it’s time to call your doctor.

Visit our Community Resources page to discover all the places you can get assistance as we get through this season together. Bootheel Babies & Families wishes you health and happiness in the new year!