This is a guest post by Tiffany Fischman, M.D., a general pediatrician at Calabasas Pediatrics and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and a mom of three kids under the age of five.
A Mamas Uncut Facebook fan writes in asking for advice on the topic of babies catching the flu. Read this mom-to-be’s question below.
“How can I make sure my 4-month-old doesn’t get the flu?
My fiancee and I both are starting to have flu symptoms, and we have a four-month little girl. She was born prematurely at 32 weeks, so her immune system isn’t as developed as a baby who was born on time.
How do we protect her from getting the flu as well, and what are some signs in babies to look for, so I know when to be worried in case she does catch it? She’s my first, and I just want to be safe instead of sorry. After seeing her in the NICU, I really don’t want to see her like that again. Thank you.“
Advice from Dr. Tiffany Fischman on how to keep a premature baby from catching the flu this season.
This is a valid and important concern. Pediatricians consider infants, especially premature infants, more high-risk patients when/if they contract viral illnesses, including the flu. So prevention really is the best tool.
The best way to prevent the flu is by getting your annual flu vaccine. Aim to get your flu shot early in the season to make sure you are protected. In addition, you should practice good hand hygiene, avoid touching your face when sick, and of course, avoid coughing and sneezing directly on your baby. Another great protector is breastfeeding. Any antibodies that your body is making against the flu or any other virus or bacteria your body is fighting will be passed through your milk to your baby and hopefully will help prevent her from getting a serious infection.
The first signs of illness in babies can vary, but often they start with just a runny nose or fever and nothing else. Other times you might notice they aren’t feeding well or they don’t sleep as well as usual. If you have an infant who seems to be showing signs of an illness, I recommend you check in with your pediatrician. They will guide you as to when your baby should be checked out and the things you can do to help them feel better in the meantime. It is important to mention that babies under 2 months of age with a fever should be evaluated by a doctor immediately, even if they otherwise seem well.
About Dr. Tiffany Fischman
Dr. Tiffany Fischman, MD FAAP is a general pediatrician at Calabasas Pediatrics and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. She previously worked at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston where she practiced general pediatrics and newborn medicine and held the position of Clinical Instructor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School.
In her free time she enjoys running, traveling, blogging on the latest topics in children’s health and spending time with her husband and 3 young children, all under 5.
Tiffany Fischman, M.D., FAAP, is a general pediatrician at Calabasas Pediatrics and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. She previously worked at The Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston where she practiced general pediatrics and newborn medicine and held the position of Clinical Instructor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School.
In her free time she enjoys running, traveling, blogging on the latest topics in children’s health, and spending time with her husband and three young children, all under the age of five.
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