Baby, it’s cold outside. The sun does not have many hours in the sky right now. The snow comes and brings with it wind that bites at your nose. And to top it all off, this is flu season. It can be hard enough to keep yourself from getting the flu, but you have to worry about your little ones as well. Every year an average of 20,000 children ages 5 and under are hospitalized due to complications from the flu. Check out these 5 ways to keep your young children healthy this season.
1) Everyone over the age of 6 months should get a flu shot every year. The flu is a respiratory illness caused by a virus. Flu infections are highly contagious and they spread easily when children are in a group together. Until your infant gets their first set of shots at about 2 months, you should keep your baby home as much as possible.
2) If you do decide to go out with your baby, a good way to protect them is to keep your baby close to your body. Typically, someone won’t breach your personal space to get a closer look at your baby. If you have your baby in a stroller or carrier, then you can place a blanket over them or put the hood down so that you can keep hands and therefore germs away.
3) Wash, wash, wash your hands. This cannot be stated enough. You should never touch your face or your child’s without washing your hands first. If you go out of the house, use sanitizer on all surfaces, such as tables and shopping carts.
4) Get your children vaccinated in a timely manner. Don’t delay! Infants are the most susceptible because they don't have the antibodies to fight off most colds and gastrointestinal infections, making them more likely not only to get sick but to stay that way longer. Children with chronic health problems, such as asthma, are also at a greater risk.
5) If you can, breastfeed your infant. Mother’s milk has antibodies that can keep your baby from getting sick so it can be a worthwhile investment on your part.