Coughing, chills, fever...the horrors of flu season are even more ominous when you're caring for an infant who is about to experience the dreary season for the first time. Whether you're new to parenting or you just had your third child, there are still necessary precautions you can take to ensure everyone in your household avoids getting sick. So, we turned to Little Remedies® pediatrician Sue Hubbard, MD, for her tips for surviving flu season with your little one.
"The best way to protect your baby from the flu is to have everyone around them immunized with the flu vaccine, as babies under six months of age cannot receive it," Dr. Hubbard says. This is especially important if your baby has siblings at home or goes to daycare, "because they have an increased chance of being exposed to influenza," she adds. "If your baby has a fever, they should never go to daycare, as they are contagious. They should stay home until they have been fever free for 24 hours. "
If your baby does contract the flu, it's important to recognize that their symptoms might be different than that of older children and adults. "Babies may run a fever and have a cough and/or congestion, but they sometimes may also vomit and are at risk of dehydration," Dr. Hubbard explains. "Influenza is a viral infection and therefore cannot be treated with antibiotics."
When your child does get sick, be sure to monitor them closely. If your baby is over two months and is experiencing a fever, Dr. Hubbard recommends treating them with acetaminophen, using a dosage that's appropriate for their weight. "Always make sure that your baby will smile and make eye contact with you. They should still take their bottle or breast," she adds. "It is important to watch their breathing to make sure that they are not having any difficulty. Make sure your baby is hydrated, has wet diapers, as well as tears when they cry and a moist mouth."
Dr. Hubbard assures that, as a new parent, you should never feel silly consulting your pediatrician--especially if your baby is under six months and has a fever for more than 24 hours. "You should check in with your pediatrician immediately, or even sooner if you have concerns," she stresses.
No one likes getting sick, but knowing what to do when your child falls ill, even if it's not the first time, will certainly make a difference. For more tips on keeping your baby happy and healthy, download the brand new Little Remedies® book, A Little More Wisdom.