How to Keep Your Baby Healthy in Flu Season: our essential guide
October 3, 2018
When is flu season?
Flu season runs all the way through fall and winter. Things really get started in October, when cold weather and back-to-school season combine. But be aware that flu season can continue until as late as February or March.
Lots of toddlers and kids are just starting school. As well as learning new skills and making new friends, they pick up new germs, too! Make sure you know how to protect and respond to flu. As well as this post, you can get even more details from the CDC’s flu website.
How to stay healthy in flu season
Let’s be realistic: your child can’t avoid a few coughs and colds in winter. But you can help boost their immune system and protect them from too many infections.
⁃ Eat a healthy, balanced diet. Good nutrition will support a strong immune system. We all know that Vitamin C helps prevents colds – but only if you eat it before you get sick. So fill up on fruits and vegetables now!
⁃ Teach good habits. Make sure your child knows how to wash their hands properly, and how to cover their face when they cough or sneeze.
⁃ Stay home. It can be difficult to manage childcare – but if your kid has an infectious illness, keep them at home. Ask their school, preschool or daycare how they keep their facilities free from germs, too.
⁃ Try soft, soothing foods. Cool purées and mashes can be great for sore throats. Warm, nourishing soup can work wonders, too!
The best protection against flu is the annual flu vaccine. After decades of research, vaccines have been proven totally safe. Talk to your doctor about what vaccines are available, and how they work.
⁃ Get flu vaccines at the start of October. Then you’ll be protected for the season ahead. Remember, they must be repeated every fall!
⁃ Babies under 6 months are too young to get the flu vaccine. Keep them wrapped up warm, and encourage adults and other kids around them to get vaccinated.
⁃ If your kid hates needles, ask your pediatrician about nasal spray inoculations.
⁃ If it’s the first time they’ve had a flu jab, your child will need two shots. Check with your pediatrician, and make sure your kid completes the course of vaccinations.
Who is at risk?
Anyone can get flu, but some people need to be particularly careful. Always take small children to the doctor if they show flu symptoms.• Children under 5 years old, especially children under 2
• Pregnant women
• Elderly people
• Educators and child carers
• People with respiratory problems (including asthma), cardiac problems, and diabetes
How to spot flu symptoms in babies
Older children and adults can tell you when they’re feeling bad. It can be more difficult to spot what’s wrong with a baby! Take your child to the doctor if they start showing these symptoms:
• Fever or chills
• Sore throat
• Runny or stuffy nose
• Aches and pains
• More tired than usual
• Vomiting and diarrhea. This is more common for kids with flu than adults.
If your child shows these serious symptoms, then seek medical help immediately:
• breathing very fast or has trouble breathing
• turns blue
• refuses to eat
• stops passing urine
• cries without tears
• does not react to you or will not wake up
• is too irritable to be held
• has a rash
• improves before getting worse
How do you handle flu season? Tell us your tips, ideas, and time-honored recipes in the comments!