Just like back-to-school and the start of the holidays, flu season arrives each year. Now is the ideal time to be vaccinated as the shot takes a little while to become effective, and while it is not 100% effective, it is the best protection available. Current medical recommendations state that everyone over the age of six months receive an annual flu vaccine (unless, of course, an allergy or other medical reason prevents it).
But what about those under six months? Not only are they at high risk of contracting flu, they are extremely prone to serious complications. In fact, The CDC reports that babies under six months “have the highest risk for being hospitalized from flu when compared to children of other ages.” The problem is, babies of this age cannot be vaccinated.
Since so many serious–even potentially fatal–complications can occur, it is important to take steps to protect babies from the flu. The March of Dimes states that babies under six months shouldn’t be given a flu shot, so in order to protect them from exposure, parents and other family members need to obtain a flu shot. Additionally, the CDC recommends that any other caregivers (in addition to those in the household) obtain the shot as well to further protect the baby.
Other suggested ways to protect them include:
- Not kissing your baby close to his or her mouth.
- Teaching other kids to sneeze into a tissue or arm, never into the air.
- Thoroughly washing your hands before caring for the baby. Even if you are not directly tending the baby, the CDC recommends washing your hands if you are going to be within six feet of him or her.
- Not sharing items like toothbrushes or eating utensils.
- Limiting your baby’s contact with others who may expose them to the flu.
If you have any concerns regarding the flu shot, or questions regarding the preventative measures you can take against the flu, contact us today.