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Babies could be at extreme risk of severe sickness this winter – and it's NOT from Covid

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Why babies could be at extreme risk of severe sickness this winter – and it’s NOT from Covid

  • Experts warn children are ‘immune naïve’ after lengthy Covid lockdowns 
  • The flu could severely impact kids with suppressed immune systems this winter 
  • Parent’s are warned to stay up-to-date with their children’s vaccinations   

Babies and toddlers are at risk getting seriously ill with colds and the flu this winter as they are ‘immune naïve’, doctors have warned. 

Covid lockdowns kept children sheltered from common childhood infections that would normally strengthen their immune system.

Parents who avoided Covid for the past two years likely also kept their babies and toddlers from encountering the common cold or flu.

Experts are warning parents to brace for a horror flu that could potentially be worse than Covid for'immune naïve' babies and toddlers

Experts are warning parents to brace for a horror flu that could potentially be worse than Covid for ‘immune naïve’ babies and toddlers

Experts predicted a wave of common diseases may strike down children with suppressed immune systems in a way that is potentially worse than Covid. 

Paediatric emergency physician Sandy Hooper said young children normally contracted nine to 13 viral infections a year but that dropped to less than five due to Covid lockdowns and precautions.

‘The increase in numbers is already very noticeable and it is only April,’ she told the Daily Telegraph.

‘If there is a large winter epidemic, influenza will sweep through schools and the adult population, and in many children, this disease is more severe than Covid. 

‘These children have not had the opportunity to build up their immune system and are now very susceptible to catching bronchiolitis or influenza.’

Peadiatric emergency physician Sandy Hooper (pictured) is urging schools to implement infection control measures as lockdown has prevented children from building up their immune systems

Peadiatric emergency physician Sandy Hooper (pictured) is urging schools to implement infection control measures as lockdown has prevented children from building up their immune systems

Dr Hooper, an associate professor at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne, urged schools to implement infection controls to reduce virus spread.

She said parents could protect their children from the flu and other serious viral infections with good nutrition and by having clean flowing air through their home. 

The National Health and Medical Research Council recommends an annual flu shot for babies and children from the time they are six months old.    

Children under five are at high risk of severe influenza infections that require hospitalisation.

An Australian review of the 2015 influenza season at two major hospitals found 7.3 per cent of children admitted with confirmed influenza needed intensive care.  

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