7 ways to protect your child during flu season
October 21, 2016
Every parent goes into flu season with baited breath. Knowing illness, sniffles and sneezes are lurking around every corner. While keeping your little one 100% illness free may be impossible, there is a lot you can do to keep your little one as healthy as possible. Here are seven ways to protect your child during flu season.
1. Wash hands
This may seem like an obvious action to take during flu season, but it is that important. It’s not only important as a caregiver to constantly wash your hands, but don’t forget to wash your baby and kids’ hands too.
Washing with soap and water is the best way to keep your hands clean, but if you do not have access to soap and water, hand sanitizer is a good alternative. However, for babies, do not use hand sanitizer and instead use a baby wipe to wash their hands.
Be sure to wash hands before any meal, when you walk in the door and after using the restroom.
2. Take Vitamin D
This specific tip is very important during flu season, which is normally during the winter months when you aren’t able to be outside in the sun as much as you would during the summer months.
To give a baby Vitamin D, you can actually buy this product to give the baby’s drops of it. Or, if you are nursing, you can take Vitamin D supplements and this too will help your baby get that extra dose of Vitamin D. Just be sure your pediatrician is on board with the supplements before hand!
There are also foods that contain Vitamin D that would be good to consume during flu season, including:
3. Get the flu shot
From the CDC website: “All persons aged 6 months and older are recommended for annual vaccination, with rare exception.”
So, almost everyone should make it a priority to get the flu shot this flu season. And for moms who are breastfeeding, when you get the flu shot, you’ll be passing on some of the flu shot benefits to your baby who is under six months of age. If you rely on nannies or caregivers to help with your childcare, you’ll want to make sure they too are getting a flu shot to add an extra layer of protection around your children.
4. Keep babies covered
You can’t really go into hiding during the flu season when you have a baby. If you do go out during flu season, you’ll want to protect your baby. One way to protect your baby when in public is keeping the baby covered. Try keeping your baby covered and in their baby carrier or keep them in their stroller while out in public. If someone asks to hold your baby during flu season, and they are in their baby carrier, just tell them that you are trying to protect the baby by leaving him where they are.
Did you know that serious colds and ear and throat infections are reduced by 63% in infants who breastfeed exclusively for six months? Additionally, babies who nurse are also much less likely to come down with respiratory tract infections and stomach bugs. So, if you are thinking about weaning your baby during flu season, you may want to reconsider.
And, if you are not able to breastfeed, don’t be hard on yourself. As we’ve mentioned above, there are many other things you can do on this list to protect your baby.
6. Disinfect surfaces
Studies show how long significant amounts of flu germs can survive on surfaces. Estimates range from a few minutes up to 24 hours, depending on the type of surface. (Via) And, did you know that they live longest on hard surfaces? So, you’ll want to keep sanitizing wipes handy for shopping trips when you use a shopping cart.
Don’t forget to sanitize your home as well. Stock up on sanitizing wipes and an air disinfectant spray that you can use after guests come over, or when someone is getting over an illness. Additionally, change out the towel that you keep where people wash their hands frequently.
7. Enforce a no-germ rule
This last point is especially important for homes with young babies. Before you have visitors over, let them know that you want to keep your baby as safe as possible so anyone who has had a fever within the past 24 hours should not visit. And, if you do have visitors over that are children, make sure they do not touch the baby- especially the baby’s hands.
Many parents also choose to only allow people who have received the whooping cough vaccination to visit their newborns. It is important that everyone who is under the same roof as your baby is up on their vaccinations.
Has there been anything else you’ve done to keep you and your baby protected during the flu season?
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