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six month old baby exposed to flu
mommyof2wonderkids posted:
My father, who has stage four lymphoma, was hospitalized Monday with influenza type A and pneumonia. We had visited him Sunday afternoon, at which time he was coughing profusely. I'd assumed, along with the rest of the family, that the coughing was cancer/chemo related and didn't think he had anything contagious. He held my six month old daughter, who has not had a flu vaccine. He coughed several times while holding her. What are the chances she will avoid getting the flu or is it pretty much determined that she will get it?
Sara DuMond, MD, FAAP responded:
I'm so sorry to hear about your father's illness. It sounds like you have enough to worry about, without having to worry about whether or not your daughter is going to get sick, now, too. I understand your concern, and while there is a possibility that she may develop influenza since she was exposed to him while he had symptoms, there are important points to consider. First of all, babies still have some maternal immune cells in their bodies at 6 months of age...valuable immunity that she got from you during pregnancy. If you got your flu shot during pregnancy, there is some protection offered to baby, up through about 6 to 9 months of age. If you're breastfeeding, this is increased, as well. Second of all, prolonged exposure equals increased likelihood of illness, so if the interaction was fairly short-lived, there's a lower chance that she was exposed long enough to develop the infection herself. Lastly, to answer your question directly, it is not a given that your daughter will develop influenza. Lots of factors are at play, and statistically, the odds are in your favor. As with anything posted on this board, I always recommend consultation with your own pediatrician, so check in with them to make them aware of the exposure, too. I hope that helps.
Dr. DuMond

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