When someone has the flu the virus spreads in ways that can be tricky to defend against. Dr. Lauren Bailey is a pediatrician at Lourdes Pediatric Clinic. Dr. Bailey said parents should be especially cautious when it comes to visitors around your newborn, “Make sure that they are washing their hands, any signs of sickness like runny nose, cough, fever, not feeling well, body aches…things like that, I would ask them to stay home until they feel better.”
This year, positive tests for flu virus started earlier than usual. Dr. Bailey said flu season is usually Fall through March. She said a big concern is a child getting pneumonia in addition to the flu, “This virus is very severe. A lot of times it causes a lot of complications, especially in high risk kids. So like asthma, diabetes, sickle cell kids, kids with cancer, thinks like that. Also, really young kids like under the age of two.” She explained it can be difficult to determine if a baby has the flu. There are different symptoms to look out for such as a fever of 100.4 and above. You should also be aware of low temperatures,”Below a 97 can be a sign of a severe infection. Babies will also not feed very well because they don’t feel good just like all of us. For them, they could get dehydrated really quickly so you’re watching for decreased wet diapers and then how they’re breathing. If they’re breathing hard and fast and look like they’re using extra muscles that’s a sign that we kind of worry about.” .
Another active virus around this time of the year is Respiratory Syncytial Virus, better known as RSV, “It’s really thick mucous. A lot of the time this virus is really notorious for getting into the lower respiratory track meaning the lungs and so they will actually get a lot of mucous in the lungs.” This of course makes it difficult for babies and children to breath., “A lot of times they will end up wheezing and end up a lot of times in the hospital just for extra supportive care like oxygen things like that.”
She mentioned a few essentials parents should keep in their home for a sick baby, such as a warm mist humidifier, saline and some sort of suction, “They have like the blue bulb suctions that are really good. You want to make sure that when you’re going to do it, you do your saline first, push in the bulb, go into the baby’s nose and then pull out slowly and just keep doing that a few times.” Dr. Bailey said t’s okay if there’s a little blood. It’s just from the irritation.
She also had a friendly reminder, you probably shouldn’t kiss a baby unless your the mom or dad, “If you have a history of cold sores and you kind of feel the tingling sensation that some people get right before one, you don’t want to kiss one because the herpes virus can be very deadly to babies.”
Also, Dr. Bailey said if you are planning to visit a new baby and are over the age of 11 you should make sure you have your Tdap and Flu shots.