Ask the Experts: Cold and flu season

By Published On: January 29th, 2019Tags: ,

A: Being responsible for your infant while feeling terrible is really tough. Moms and dads everywhere would probably agree it’s not an ideal situation, especially with the flu. But because parents get sick, too, it’s important you have a strategy to keep baby well while on the road to recovery. Consider these tips:

  • Use a nasal saline spray. A xylitol-based nasal spray, such as Xlear, protects and boosts the natural mucous lining of the nose to help fight off the nasty cold and flu viruses circulating this time of year.
  • Get plenty of sleep. Sleep is the most restorative time for our immune system and body, and studies show adequate sleep can help improve immune response. When baby sleeps, mom should also be aiming to sleep. This is the best (and most realistic) way to get enough rest.
  • Wash your hands. Consistent handwashing is another great way to reduce transmission of viruses because we spread the cold and flu through contact of contaminated surfaces (hands, doorknobs, railings, etc.).
  • Keep used tissues out of reach.This is a common way germs spread. Always use clean hands and new tissues for both mom and baby.
  • Eat foods high in vitamins. Fresh fruits and vegetables contain antioxidants and protective vitamins like C, E, and zinc. These are great for a healthy immune system and should be added to the diet (or increased during the cold season). Try whole foods like apples, sweet potatoes and leafy greens.
  • Get the flu shot. Mom should get her flu shot and encourage everyone around baby to get vaccinated. This is the only way to really protect young babies who are too small to get the vaccine. And if mom has the flu shot, she is less likely to be as sick and have fewer days of symptoms.

Shipli Agarwal, MD, board-certified family medicine physician