How To Keep Your Baby Safe During The Flu Season
Everyone gets sick, even babies. Infants have weaker immune systems than adults because they are still developing resistance to their environment. The immature immune system of babies leaves them open to over 200 viruses including the flu virus. It is natural to want to protect your child from everything, and while you can’t always keep them from getting sick, there are steps you can take to reduce their chances of catching the flu.
Viruses and bacteria love to linger on surfaces. Babies being curious as expected, love to touch everything and also put things in their mouths. The main way infants contract illness is through the normal exploration of the environment around them. That of course means touching and tasting things that may not be so good for their health.
Flu Season & Infant Health
As we head into flu season, it makes sense to try to prevent illness, or at least prepare for its arrival. For parents of infants, especially new parents, this can be the hardest part of the year. The flu is passed from person to person via surfaces and the air. Most parents of small children will simply cancel all outings in an attempt to avoid most seasonal illnesses. While this can reduce transmission dramatically, you have to wonder if it is a real solution for flu prevention.
We agree with pediatricians and their suggestions for keeping infants two months and younger away from crowds. At such a young age, it is easy to get sick from regular viruses and bacteria that are in the environment. This is mainly due to the lack of a well-developed immune system more than a lack of cleanliness.
Keeping Your Infant Safe From The Flu
It is important to keep infants two months and younger in a protected environment. There are very few medications available to treat symptoms and most diagnostic procedures are very invasive. Prevention is the key to maintaining infant health and preventing the flu at such a young age.
For older infants, restricting access to crowds and even limiting time in daycare can help. The flu spreads easily, and one of the prime sources of infection is daycare centers. With the pandemic in full swing, most daycares have been closed, but some are still in operation for working parents. Home daycares are a bit better in terms of cleanliness, but any place that infants and toddlers gather is susceptible to spreading the flu.
Proper Hygiene and Infant Flu Prevention
Proper hygiene is critical for everyone, especially those that will come in contact with your baby. Make sure that everyone is washing their hands with antibacterial soap. When someone arrives from outside, they should leave their shoes and coats at the door, wash their hands, and then socialize. Kissing and hugging are normal parts of family social interaction, but when you have a small child you want to keep safe during flu season, it is okay to put rules in place.
If anyone is showing symptoms of the flu or any other illness, it is a good idea to ask them to reschedule their visit, or at least avoid interacting with your baby. This includes parents and siblings as well. Clean living will help reduce the spread of germs and timely vaccinations will also help boost your infant's immune system. In the event your child does fall ill, communicate with their pediatrician on a regular basis to help manage their care.
The Flu Vaccine For Infants
If your child is at least six months old, you can schedule an appointment for their flu vaccine shot. The flu vaccine shot is very safe, but like with all vaccines, there are some temporary side effects. A low-grade fever, soreness, fussiness, and lethargy are common for the flu vaccine and other vaccinations. While the flu vaccine won’t prevent the flu 100%, it will boost your child’s ability to fight off the disease if they happen to catch it.
For babies under six months of age and even those over six months, there are additional ways to boost immunity. Skin-to-skin contact boosts infant immunity and also increases their comfort. Another way to help infants stay safe from the flu is through a healthy diet. If you are breastfeeding, this is the first line of defense. High-quality infant formula like kabrita goat milk formula is the next best option. Even if you are breastfeeding, supplementing with European infant formula can give your baby the support it needs to stay healthy. When you pair good food and ample sleep, your infant will have a good chance of avoiding the flu or beating it quickly if they do happen to catch it.
Infant Feeding & Immune System Support
What you feed your child plays a big role in their health and the strength of their immune system. Whole foods, nutritious meals, and quality infant formula all work to give them the tools they need to thrive. Proper nutrition starts before birth and continues after birth in the form of breastfeeding and healthy infant formula. Breastfeeding gives your child customized nutrition that meets their specific needs. European infant formulas are as close to breast milk as you can in both nutrition and formulation.
Most European infant formulas are organic and have added vitamins and minerals to support proper development. HiPP, Kabrita goat milk formula, Holle, Nanny Care, and Loulouka are just a few brands from the EU that offer healthy choices for infants of all ages. Formulas that have added DHA, probiotics, and prebiotics also work the help boost immune support that will come in handy during flu season.
Aside from having added vitamins and minerals, European infant formulas are made from higher-quality ingredients. There are no harsh chemicals, sugary additives, or wasteful fillers. The majority of EU infant formulas are organic or come from biodynamic farming. With no antibiotics, hormones, or other harmful ingredients in the food source, infants are able to benefit from pure nutrition. This, in turn, helps their immune system to develop, so they can stay healthy regardless of the season.