- Different types of the flu include influenza A, influenza B and the stomach flu. These last anywhere from 3 to 7 days, but some symptoms can persevere for over 2 weeks even after the baby is not contagious anymore. A baby can become infected with any of these viruses from a wide range of sources, including another baby at a hospital or daycare, household germs, schools, relatives or contaminated food or drinks.
- Flu symptoms in infants include sudden fever that exceeds 100 degrees F, and warmness in the face. They may have a red colored flush right when they get the virus. A baby may also have chills, a cough, loss of appetite, sore throat, runny nose or heavy gurgling breathing. If your baby rubs his head often while fussing, he may have a headache, which is a symptom as well. Swollen glands, diarrhea and vomiting are sure signs your baby is sick and should be taken to a doctor immediately.
- These symptoms can make a baby very fatigued and colorless. Infants do not have the immune system capacity to fight the virus, so they end up in the hospital more often than not. A baby may not eat as well or spit up more often, so she may suffer from dehydration. In extreme cases such as this, an IV may be necessary. If not treated correctly, serious conditions or even death can occur.
- Flu symptoms can be the start of some other condition, and a baby's discomfort and fever can be attributed to something more serious such as earaches, pneumonia or bronchitis. Do not provide your baby with any sort of medication unless it is cleared by your doctor, such as baby aspirin. Once you know your baby is ill with a virus, make sure to provide plenty of fluids such as water and juices. Try to get him to keep down solids, but if he can't, foods such as frozen fruit bars and ice cream can provide nutrients and at least some extra fluids. Your doctor might decide the virus requires antibiotics, but this is in extreme cases and it should be for a short period of time and in small amounts.
- Hygiene is very important around infants. They constantly pick up things, are crawling on the floor and putting items into their mouths. It is important to keep their hands washed constantly, as well as those who handle the baby. Disinfect toys, furniture and the floor regularly with products that are safe for babies. Wash clothes, sheets and blankets regularly as well with disinfecting detergent. Flu shots are available to everyone over 6 months old, and even if your baby is too young to receive one, other family members should get one to lower the risk of infecting your infant.