As the weather begins to cool and holiday decorations go up, my favorite time of the year is finally here. Autumn brings about a sense of excitement and togetherness as people begin to make holiday plans with family and friends. This is especially the case for families with newborn babies who get to meet relatives and loved ones for the first time. However, families with new babies should also remember this time of the year isn’t just a season for holidays. The 2015 Flu Season has already begun and incidences of flu are expected to increase from October through May. During this time, family members should be aware of ways to help protect infants and themselves by taking action to keep healthy.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends an annual flu vaccine for anyone 6 months of age or older. Newborns and babies less than 6 months of age are at high risk for flu complications but are still too young to be vaccinated. Therefore it’s the responsibility of parents and caregivers to keep infants healthy in other ways. Family members should get vaccinated and ensure their nanny or newborn care specialist do the same. It’s okay to request that caregivers receive a flu vaccination, as it’s common amongst healthcare and childcare workers. It is recommended that these professionals receive the vaccination as early as possible (even before October) to prevent spread of the virus and protect during the peak of the season. It takes the body up to 2 weeks after vaccination to produce the antibodies that fight off the flu, so the earlier the vaccination the better.
The 2015 vaccination is expected to be more effective than last year’s implementation and even if the virus evolves the vaccination can still help provide immunity. With a variety of vaccination options, the flu vaccine is an easy and effective way to protect both you and your loved ones.
While discussing the flu vaccine with your caregiver, ensure they understand it’s important to stay home when they are sick. It also helps to have an ample supply of sanitizer, soap, and tissues conveniently located around the house and to encourage your family members, nanny, and guests to use them. Avoid those who become sick and encourage caretakers who feel ill to stay home. If a loved one becomes ill recommend they see a doctor as antiviral medications are available and can help with flu complications and length of illness.
For additional information on the 2015 flu vaccination as well as recommendations for caregivers see the CDC website (http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/season/flu-season-2015-2016.htm) or talk to your family doctor or pediatrician.
All Hush Hush Little Baby Newborn Care Specialists, Postpartum Doulas and Night Nannies receive the flu vaccine each year. We wish you all a wonderful and healthy holiday season!