Babies are especially vulnerable during flu season, which typically starts in October and lasts through May. In fact, around 20,000 children under five years old are hospitalized with the flu each year.* Follow these tips to reduce your baby’s risk of getting the flu.
Keep your baby away from crowded areas and public places as much as possible, especially during his or her first months of life.
Disinfect frequently – carts, baskets, steering wheels, toys and other surfaces or items that may host germs. Wash your own hands often, relying on hand sanitizer if you’re unable to wash your hands with soap and water.
Do not let people with fevers or other symptoms handle your baby. In fact, it would be best if you do not allow recently ill people in your home or near your baby until they are fully well.
Get vaccinated. While babies cannot get vaccinated for the flu until after six months, family members, and mainly Mom, should get the flu vaccine. Reasonably priced vaccines are available at your local health department.
If you suspect your baby might have been exposed, watch for symptoms like loss of appetite, lack of energy, vomiting, diarrhea, sneezing, coughing and congestion. Check your baby frequently for fevers, and schedule an appointment with a healthcare provider as soon as possible. Do NOT give your baby medicine without first consulting your doctor.
Disclaimer: If your baby has a fever or other symptoms, or you have concerns about the growth and development of your child, always seek care from your healthcare provider.