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Influenza (Flu) In Babies - Causes, Signs, Symptoms, Prevention


Influenza (Flu) In Babies - Causes, Signs, Symptoms, Prevention, Vaccines, Treatment, And Remedies

Influenza (Flu) is a viral infection of the respiratory tract (nose, throat, and lungs) caused due to the influenza virus. Flu is contagious and easily spreads from person to person. Babies tend to get flu more often than adults and are at higher risk of developing serious illnesses such as pneumonia, sinus, ear infections. Babies under the age of six months are more prone to develop such problems and some babies with serious illness need to be treated in the hospital.



Signs and symptoms of influenza (flu) in babies









Causes of Flu in Babies

Flu is caused due to the influenza virus which spreads when infected people cough or sneeze. Your baby can get infected if he/she breathe in these infected droplets. Your baby can also get infected if he/she touches things that have the influenza virus on it such as toys, bottles, and then touches his nose or mouth. Influenza Virus is of three types:


1. Influenza A

2. Influenza B

3. Influenza C


Influenza A and B are the viruses that cause widespread illness almost every winter season while influenza C causes a mild respiratory illness. 




Signs and Symptoms of Flu in Babies

The signs and symptoms of flu in babies are:

  • Fever above 100
  • Chills and Sweats
  • Shivers
  • Sore Throat
  • Cough
  • Runny or Stuffy Nose
  • Body Aches, or Muscle Aches
  • Headache
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Tiredness, Weakness or Dizziness
  • Vomiting, Nausea or Diarrhea




Prevention of Flu in Babies

By following these tips you can prevent your baby from flu:

  • Get your baby vaccinated.
  • Maintain good hygiene.
  • Keep your baby away from those people who are already infected by the flu.
  • Wash your baby's hand with soap.
  • Wash your hands well with soap after using the bathroom, coughing, or sneezing.
  • Always sanitize your hands before touching your baby.


Treatment of Flu in babies 

The best way to prevent flu is to get vaccinated every year at the start of the flu season. 


Flu Vaccine

Babies over the age of 6 months should get the flu vaccine every year to prevent flu. The flu vaccine is not suitable for those people who have an allergy to chicken eggs. Babies who are under the age of 6 months should not get a flu vaccine. For infants, flu medication can be prescribed by the doctor. A seasonal flu shot contains three influenza viruses which are:


1. Influenza (H3N2) Virus

2. Influenza (H1N2) Virus

3. One B Virus


A flu vaccine can be given by any of the following two ways:


1. Flu Shot

2. Flu Nasal Spray


Flu treatment in infants

If the baby is at least two weeks old doctor may prescribe antiviral drug Oseltamivir (Tamiflu). It is used to treat symptoms such as fever, chills, runny or stuffy nose, cough, body aches, muscle aches that caused due to flu virus. 




Home Remedies to Prevent Flu in babies

Some of the home remedies to prevent flu are:

  • Make sure your baby drinks lots of fluids to prevent dehydration. You can offer soup, juice to your baby.
  • Try to feed small meals to your baby throughout the day.
  • Try to limit your baby's contact with infected people. 
  • Adequate sleep is essential so let your baby sleep whenever he/she wants. 
  • Make sure your baby takes plenty of rest.
  • To relieve fever or aches give ibuprofen or acetaminophen to your baby after consulting your doctor.


How long does the Flu last?

Flu can last for 5 to 6 days. It usually takes a week or two to fully recover.




When to call a doctor for the flu in babies?

Flu can turn into a serious complication such as pneumonia which can create health complications to the baby. If your baby is under the age of 1 year and is experiencing the following symptoms of flu it's better to consult your doctor immediately:

  • Fever above 104 °F
  • Fever that lasts more than 3 to 4 days.
  • Trouble Breathing or Fast Breathing
  • A cough that doesn't go away even after a week.
  • Ear Pain
  • Fever with a rash
  • If the baby's skin turns Gray or Bluish.
  • Dehydration


Consult your pediatrician before giving any medication to your little one. Your doctor may prescribe ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Don't give aspirin to your baby as it can cause a life-threatening rare liver disorder known as Reye's Syndrome.


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Disclaimer: This content is intended for general information only and it should not be used as the basis of patient treatment. The given content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, treatment or any diagnosis. Always consult a doctor for more information. Our website doesn't claim responsibility for this information.

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