Why are children younger than 5 at risk for flu?


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Influenza might not be a major problem to adults who have a well-developed immune system developed from a healthy lifestyle, a vaccine or prior exposure to the virus. Children less than five years are at a higher risk of contracting the flu since they are yet to develop their immunity to the acceptable standards. The risk increases if the child is suffering from chronic health conditions or leads a generally unhealthy lifestyle, for instance skipping the crucial breastfeeding or eating the wrong diet.

Flu and Children

Research has shown that flu could be a greater risk to your young on than the common cold. Children younger than 2 years are more susceptible to complex flu complications while those between two years and five years and have already taken a vaccine in a previous season can survive the flu season with a mild attack.

The greatest reason that puts children at a bigger risk is how the human immune system develops. While babies are born with some percentage of immunity, they will not build their defenses to a formidable level until they’ve had the time to expose their body to different antigens.

This will happen naturally or through scheduled vaccines. The first and safest stage to protecting the youngest from frequent infections is by breastfeeding. A breastfeeding mother can pass on a fraction of her disease fighting cells to the baby hence boosting immunity levels.

Protecting Your Children from Influenza

Your child will remain vulnerable until he or she receives the shot or builds immunity to the virus. Knowing what to do to protect your family and the baby goes a long way into saving on medical bills and the anguish of nursing a sick child.

For Kids Younger than 6 Months

While children below six months are more susceptible, you will not have the power of a vaccine on your side to combat the flu. Protecting them from influenza involves using the caregivers and your family to ensure that the virus doesn’t get to the baby in the first place.

  • Ensure that you get the flu vaccine in time
  • Everyone in your household, including the nanny, should get the shot
  • Protect the child from risk of contracting the flu by keeping yourself and the house clean
  • If it is during the flu season, limit the number of outsiders who have access to the baby
A healthy diet to the baby at this stage is mostly breastfeeding. Staying healthy as the mum and breastfeeding as often as you can will boost the child’s immunity and increase his or her chances of surviving the flu season.

Children above 6 Months Old

The best way to protecting this age group would be by having them take the flu shot. You must, however, not that taking the shot doesn’t necessarily make your family immune to influenza. There will be chances of catching a mild infection.

Preventing the Flu

Staying hygienic and eating healthy is the best way to combat influenza. Wash your hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based sanitizer as often as possible. Here are some other tips that will help keep you safe.

  • Avoid touching mucus membranes like the eyes, nose and the mouth as this spreads the germs
  • Minimize close contact with sick people
  • Healthy habits ranging from enough sleep, good exercise, healthy food and plenty of fluids boost immunity
  • Encourage everyone to cover their nose when sneezing or coughing and avoid using handkerchiefs. Use disposable tissue
Protection is always better than treating flu. It would be wise to get medical help when your kid goes down with flu.

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