Resources for New Moms

Protecting Baby From the Flu

Children younger than 5 years of age are at high risk of serious flu-related complications. More than 20,000 children younger than 5 years old are hospitalized each year in the United States because of the flu. 

Common flu complications include:

  • Pneumonia.
  • Dehydration.
  • Worsening of long-term medical problems like heart disease or asthma, encephalopathy (inflammation of the brain), sinus problems, and ear infections.
  • In rare cases, flu complications can lead to death.

If your baby is over 6 months old, they should get the flu shot. If this is your baby’s first year getting the shot, baby will need two shots, four weeks apart. 

Tips to protect babies under 6 months from the flu:

  • Feed your baby breast milk as it contains antibodies and other immunological factors that can help protect your infant from flu. 
  • Get the Flu Vaccine YourselfA flu vaccine is the best way to protect against the flu. A flu vaccine can protect you and your loved ones – including your infant – from the flu.  

Everyday flu prevention tips:

  • Keep yourself and your baby away from people who are sick. 
  • If you get the flu, stay home from work or school. 
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze and throw the tissue away after you use it. 
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. If you are not near water, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. 
  • Try not to touch your eyes, nose, or mouth. Germs often spread this way. 
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces.

Antiviral drugs: 

  • If your baby does become ill with flu, the antiviral drug oseltamivir (Tamiflu®) is approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) for use in infants aged 2 weeks and older to treat influenza. 
  • Talk to your child’s provider to determine if this is the right treatment for your child.