The young ones are prone to get infected and influenced by any virus. Read on to find out the reasons and remedies of flu in babies/ infants.
Flu in Babies
Your days were passing by happily with your baby. You were busy taking care of them and they were busy playing around and giving you more trouble. Suddenly one day your baby gets uneasy and irritable. You take him/ her to the doctor and come to know that your little baby is suffering from some deadly flu. It is quite difficult to accept that suddenly your child has been attacked by some virus, isnít it? But, this uncertainty is always present with the growing babies. Their immune system is still developing and so weak. They are prone to get infected and attacked by any infection or virus if not taken care of. Flu of any kind is caused by a specific bug: the influenza virus.
Children under 2 years of age are more likely to get affected than the grownups, and the flu can prove to be quite dangerous for these young ones. Babies with flu require special care and full attention. The earlier the flu is detected, the better and easier it will be for you to provide medical attention to them. The symptoms of flu are quite common, which makes it difficult to diagnose. A baby with flu may simply be lethargic or may not eat as well, or they may have symptoms similar to that of cold. So because of the uncertainty and common symptoms and signs, it becomes important for the parents to be extra careful for their babies.
Influenza A and influenza B are potent pathogens flu viruses, which can easily spread through air. If your baby is near someone with the flu and is coughing and sneezing, they may breathe in infected droplets through their mouth and nose. The virus proliferates when people are in close contact. It travels easily through schools, playgroups, families and daycare centers. The victim will get sick one to four days after the exposure, making it difficult for diagnosing it. The severity of the virus differs from person to person, and because the symptoms are mild many a time people mistake it to be just a simple cold. This unpredictability and invisible nature of the virus makes it a threat for the person affected and the ones around them.
- A child suffering from flu might show signs of sudden onset of fever, typically 101 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Congestion and normal coughing are also one of the symptoms of the flu, which are taken lightly and left unattended.
- The child may also suffer from fatigue and chills, followed by respiratory symptoms like running nose and dry cough.
- Your baby may also suffer with ear ache, which gets quite painful with time.
- Poor appetite, sore throat and swollen glands are few other signs of flu. The flu can also bring along abdominal pain, diarrhea and vomiting making your baby irritable.
- The baby might also start wheezing or working harder for breathing than usual.
- A baby suffering with the flu might fall sick again and again, even after recovering back from the flu.
- Nothing is better than giving your baby full rest and lots of fluids. Nurse your baby often and if they eat solid, try giving them frozen fruit bars to encourage them to get extra liquids along with soup or broth, this will ease their congestion.
- Do not pressurize your doctor to give antibiotics, which kill only bacteria, to your child. It is the virus not the bacteria that causes flu, so antibiotics won’t be of any help. Antibiotics will only be useful if your baby develops any bacterial infection such as pneumonia, an ear infection as a result of having flu.
- If your baby is uncomfortable, ask your doctor whether you can give your baby a pain reliever like children’s acetaminophen.
- Your baby may get better in three to five days. First the fever will break down and then their appetite will return. But, some children have cold and cough associated body aches that may hang on till two weeks or so.
CDS or the center for disease control and prevention, strictly recommends flu shots for all the people, children and adults. Even if your baby is too small for the shots, those who are in close contact should get vaccinated to reduce the risk of spreading the virus. This vaccine is more important for children in high-risk group. Like if your baby is suffering with other diseases like diabetes, or a suppressed immune system, severe anemia or a chronic heart, lung or kidney disease, they become more prone to get infected, so vaccination is a must for them.
But, this vaccination does not give a hundred percent guarantee. The effectiveness of the vaccine also depends on the health of your baby, and also how well the vaccine is matched to the virus that is circulating. If at all your baby gets flu even after getting vaccinated, there is a good chance that he/ she will get a milder case.
Hygiene is the best way to keep away from any kind of viruses or bacteria. Make sure that your babyís hands are always clean. Develop this habit in your baby and all other members of the family. This will prevent the germs from spreading. Keeping your baby away from the people who are sick will also help a great deal. No matter how clean and conscientious you are, your baby may get affected by the virus. So being hygienic is just a preventive step that you can take to help your baby stay away from the viral infections.