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Healthyway: Flu & Infants

What Is Safe, And Are You Practicing Safe Habits?

Even though you aren't hearing as much about the flu, that doesn't mean it's time to let your guard down, especially when it comes to infants.

"Typically the cause is a virus,' says Benjamin Bring, DO, a primary care physician at OhioHealth Primary Care Physicians in Dublin, Ohio. "Rhinovirus, also known as the common cold, is usually responsible as baby’s immune system isn’t equipped to fight off the disease that hits some 18 million Americans every year. But babies are also particularly susceptible to coronavirus, parainfluenza virus, adenovirus, and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV),"

While many parents turn to medications to get babies feeling better, but parents and caregivers really should do their research, ask questions, and read labels.

“There are very few over-the-counter medications [that] are recommended for young children and almost all of the cough [and] congestion medications should not be administered to children under age 4,” Bring warns.

In fact, some experts say there can be much better options than medications.

“Some good treatments include cool mist humidifiers to help break up mucous secretions and a bulb syringe to help remove the mucus,” Bring says to “Saline nose drops can help in some circumstances as well. Often parents will use the steam from a shower in a bathroom if [they don’t have] access to a humidifier to help their baby breathe better [despite] a respiratory infection.”

If a baby is struggling to breathe, and you notice color changes or barking type coughs, it is likely time for an ED or urgent care visit.

“This can indicate that the baby isn’t getting enough oxygen due to inflammation of the airways from the infection,” Bring explains. “Typically oxygen levels can be measured at an urgent care or ER through use of a pulse oximeter.”

The fact of the matter is, germs are everywhere, and when you come home from work, or a sibling comes home from school, or someone comes over to visit, it is up to each of those people to take health seriously.

“Parents, caregivers, and anyone around the baby should be vigilant about hand-washing, especially during the winter months,” Bring says.

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