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5 Things to Do Immediately When Your Baby Gets The Flu

5 Things to Do Immediately When Your Baby Gets The Flu

Guest Post by Katy Fleming, MA, LPC, BSN, R

It’s concerning when your baby suddenly spikes a fever and can’t seem to settle down. Whether you’re a new or seasoned parent, you may not know how to handle a baby with the flu.  

Compared to children of all ages, babies under six months have the highest risk of hospitalization and complications due to the flu. 

As flu season continues, learn how this dangerous virus affects your baby and what you can do to help. 

Things to Do Immediately When Your Baby Gets The Flu

Influenza, better known as the flu, is a respiratory virus that spreads easily to others through droplets. 

A 2018 study found that children are more likely to get sick from the flu and twice as likely to develop flu symptoms than older adults. 

Since babies have developing immune systems and can’t receive the flu vaccine until six months old, infants are at a higher risk of getting sick from the flu.

If you suspect the flu in your little one, check out these next steps.  

1. Recognize the difference between adult and infant flu symptoms 

Although your little one can’t use words to communicate how they feel, there are typical signs of illness. Flu symptoms can present differently in babies than adults, however. 

Children are more likely to present with GI symptoms (i.e., diarrhea, vomiting) and a higher fever than adults when struggling with the flu.

Flu symptoms in babies include: 

  • Increased fussiness and irritability 
  • Poor feeding 
  • Diarrhea or vomiting 
  • Sudden high fever (100 F or above)
  • Cough 
  • Nasal congestion 

The flu often comes quickly with more severe symptoms than the common cold. Most typically feel better after approximately 7-10 days. 

Complications may result from the flu, such as dehydration, ear infections, pneumonia, and, in rare cases, even death. 

2. Check-in with your pediatrician 

Once you identify flu symptoms, call your child’s pediatrician to discuss any medication recommendations.

Some providers prescribe an antiviral medication to help babies feel better more quickly and prevent further complications. 

Discuss whether your kiddo would benefit from children’s acetaminophen or ibuprofen to manage their fever. Never give an infant Aspirin unless specifically directed by a medical provider as it can cause rare complications. 

Over-the-counter cough and cold medicine can potentially cause issues in infants, so it’s best to discuss all medication options with their doctor before treating your little one. 

3. Give smaller meals more often 

Dehydration is a serious risk for infants with the flu. If your little one has a fever, diarrhea, or vomiting, they may lose too much water. Many babies feed less when sick, and their lost fluids are not replenished.

Signs of dehydration include not producing urine for eight hours, less than six wet diapers per day, not drinking as much breast milk or formula, and not making tears when crying. 

When your little one doesn’t want to feed as often, try these tips

  • Offer smaller feedings more frequently
  • Give sips of breast milk or formula with a syringe or spoon. 

Try starting with 1-2 teaspoons of breastmilk or formula every 5-10 minutes. Assess how much your child is eating and wetting diapers. 

If you suspect dehydration, call your child’s pediatrician immediately as your infant may require further medical treatment. 

4. Suction out the snot 

A stuffy nose is commonly found with the flu, causing major breathing problems. Babies don’t develop the reflex to breathe out of their mouths until 3 or 4 months. Even then, their nose is typically preferred. 

Keep your little one’s nose clear with Dr. Noze Best’s hospital-grade suction, the NozeBot Nasal Aspirator. 

This easy-to-use suction will comfortably relieve your baby of nasal congestion. Check out the newborn nosepiece for the perfect, snug fit on your little one.

5. Learn when to seek out the hospital

The influenza virus is dangerous in young children and infants. It’s important to know when to seek medical attention. 

Call for emergency medical assistance if your baby presents with any of these symptoms: 

  • Lips or face turn blue or gray
  • Difficulty breathing or fast breathing 
  • Ribs appear to pull in with each breathe 
  • Seizures 
  • Fever or cough that gets better and then returns 
  • Not waking up or being alert 
  • Severe vomiting 
  • Any fever in a baby younger than 12 weeks old, fever over 104 F in older children 
  • Dehydration (i.e., no wet diapers for 8 hours)

Looking to stay up-to-date this cold and flu season? You’ll love these: 

If your child presents with any of the symptoms discussed, call your medical provider to discuss any questions and next steps.

As a licensed counselor and registered nurse, Katy approaches freelance writing with years of experience and a unique perspective. Alongside her partner, Katy loves to travel the world and embrace other cultures from volcanoes in Iceland to villages in India. 

A clear nose means better sleep.

The Nozebot is a battery-powered suction device designed to clear nasal congestion in babies and children.

Buy now

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