Flu in Babies


Definition of flu: the flu is an infection of the nose, throat, and lungs caused by influenza viruses. There are several influenza viruses, and in any given year, some are more common than others. Flu infections are most typical during “flu season,” which lasts from approximately October to May.

Children under 5– particularly those under 2– are at risk for serious complications if they get the flu. Each year about 20,000 children below 5 years of ages are hospitalized with flu complications such as pneumonia.

Typical baby flu symptoms

Call the doctor right now if your baby has normal flu symptoms to discover if he ought to be analyzed. Your youngster may require treatment with antiviral drugs. They’re authorized for babies as young as 2 weeks and work best when begun in the first two days of the health problem.

Here’s a quick list of common flu symptoms. (Some of them, such as headache and muscle aches, are hard to spot in a baby!) Somebody with the flu will have some or all these:

  • Fever or sensation feverish (the CDC notes that not everyone with flu has a fever).
  • Chills and body shakes.
  • Dry, hacking cough.
  • Sore throat.
  • Runny or stuffy nose.
  • Muscle or body aches.
  • Headache.
  • Fatigue (extremely worn out).

Vomiting and diarrhea (not typical, however can take place).

On the other hand, a child with a cold generally has a lower fever, a runny nose, and just a little coughing. The flu usually makes kids (and adults) feel much sicker, achier, and more unpleasant than a cold does.

For infants under 12 months old, there are some extra precautions when it pertains to fever and cough. It’s time to call the doctor if your baby:

  • Is below 3 months old and has a fever of 100.4 degrees or higher. A fever in a baby this young may indicate serious infection or disease.
  • Has a fever that rises above 104 degrees repeatedly.
  • Has had a fever for more than 24 hours.
  • Develops a cough that is not enhancing after a week.

flu symptoms in babies

Serious baby flu symptoms

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) cautions that even children who are typically extremely healthy can get dangerously sick with the flu. Call for emergency situation services (911) if your baby has any of these symptoms or conditions:

  • Fast breathing or tough breathing.
  • Bluish or gray skin color.
  • Not drinking enough fluids (not peeing as much as normal is a sign of this; see other signs of dehydration).
  • Severe or persistent vomiting.
  • Not awakening or not interacting.
  • Being so irritable that she or he doesn’t wish to be held.
  • Flu-like symptoms that improve however then return with fever and a worse cough.
  • Has other conditions (like heart or lung disease or asthma) and develops flu symptoms, including a fever or cough.

Causes of flu in babies

If your baby is near someone with the flu who is coughing or sneezing, he may breathe in infected droplets through his mouth or nose, according to iytmed.org. People with the flu are normally contagious for a day or two prior to symptoms start and for five to seven days after. Children may be contagious for longer.

Since the flu spreads out when individuals remain in close contact, it travels quickly through schools, daycare centers, playgroups, and families. People normally get ill one to 4 days after exposure.

The severity of the flu varies from individual to individual, so it’s possible to be infected with the virus and unknown it. If you just establish mild symptoms, it’s simple to think it’s a cold and unwittingly pass the flu virus to others.

Flu treatments for infants

Whether the doctor prescribes medication, your baby has to stay at home and get lots of rest and– most important– a lot of fluids. If she’s eating solids, try providing frozen fruit bars and soup or broth.

If your baby appears uncomfortable, ask the doctor whether you can give her a pain reliever, such as children’s acetaminophen.

Don’t give aspirin to a child unless your doctor has actually suggested it. It can set off Reye’s syndrome, an uncommon however lethal condition.

Resist the desire to ask your doctor for antibiotics, which are only reliable against bacteria. A virus causes the flu– not bacteria– so antibiotics won’t do a thing. Antibiotics might be essential, however, if your baby develops a secondary bacterial infection as a result of the flu, such as pneumonia, an ear infection, or bronchitis.

Your baby must start feeling better in three to five days. The fever will break first, and after that her cravings needs to return. However this is just a price quote– some kids (and adults) have a cough that hangs on for two weeks or more.

Flu prevention for your baby

Preventive steps include getting the flu vaccine and practicing good hygiene.

Flu vaccine

The United States Centers for Disease Control (CDC) suggests that healthy individuals– children and adults– get an annual flu vaccine starting at age 6 months. If your baby is too young for the vaccine, make sure everybody in close contact with him gets vaccinated to limit the chances of direct exposure.

Getting the vaccine is much more important if your baby remains in a high-risk group– for example, if he has diabetes, a reduced body immune system, severe anemia, a chronic heart or lung condition (including asthma), or kidney disease.

Regrettably, the flu vaccine isn’t really sure-fire. Its efficiency depends upon your baby’s total health (it’s more reliable in healthy children) and how well the vaccine matches the virus that’s presently flowing. In some years the vaccine is a better match than in other years.

If your baby does get the flu after being vaccinated, it’s more than likely he was infected by a strain the vaccine didn’t cover. And naturally, the shot won’t safeguard him from other infections that might appear like the flu.


Practice good hygiene to help keep your baby healthy. Wash her hands with soap and warm water, and have everyone in the family clean their hands typically, too. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer when soap and water are not readily available.

Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue, then toss the tissue in the garbage right away. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. Clean down bathroom and kitchen area surface areas and toys frequently with a household disinfectant.

As best you can, keep your baby away from individuals who might be sick. If somebody in the home is sick, ensure that person stays away from your baby as much as possible.

No matter how conscientious you are, your baby may pick up the virus. If she does get the flu, the bright side is, she’s less likely to obtain it once again in the same year because she’ll be immune to that specific strain.

Various pressures of the flu virus will circulate next year, and this season’s vaccine won’t provide any resistance– that’s why a flu shot is suggested every year.


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