Health Watch - Colds and Flu: Protecting Babies

Health Watch is a Public Service of the Office of News and Publications and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.


This week on Health Watch, we’re talking about cold and flu season. Flu shots aren’t available for infants younger than six months, and yet some strains of flu, including the H1N1 variety, are particularly threatening to young children. How can you protect infants?

The everyday precautions you use to protect yourself against colds and flu will also help you protect infants in your care. Be sure to wash your hands before handling an infant and keep infants away from sick people. Dr. Jeffrey Kahn, chief of pediatric infectious diseases at UT Southwestern Medical Center, says babies who aren’t breast-fed are more likely to get sick and be sicker. That’s because breast milk helps protect against diseases mothers and babies are exposed to. Mothers who get sick should consider expressing milk so that their babies will still get that protection without being held closely by someone who is sick.     

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January 2011


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