How to reduce the risk of baby flu

August 26th, 2013

Did your baby catch the flu this winter? Do you know why? Because a new study from the University of Sydney has revealed that vaccinating the rest of the family is the best way to protect children under six months of age from catching the baby flu – and this knowledge might help you protect the wee ones in your family.

Children themselves can only be vaccinated for the flu once they are older than six months, so before this time it's important to take precautions to protect these vulnerable children. Infants with influenza can develop serious complications and so prevention is really the best cure.

"The biggest risk factor we documented was close contact with other (unvaccinated) young children in the household, contributing to 46 per cent of cases," said the paper's senior author, Professor Elizabeth Elliott.

"Our message to parents is please vaccinate all of your household against seasonal influenza in order to protect the youngest and most vulnerable in your family. Don’t forget that the influenza vaccine is recommended for pregnant women too."

Other risk factors for baby flu include young infants being exposed to cigarette smoking, crowding in households and other miscellaneous exposure to unvaccinated individuals – including in childcare settings such as daycare.

This University of Sydney study has been published in the August edition of the Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health and some of the study's data will be presented at the International Congress of Paediatrics.

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