Caring For A Baby With The Flu
How do you care for a baby with the flu?
Caring for a baby with the flu is never a fun experience. Regardless of whether a person is young, old, vegan, omni or somewhere in between, we all get the flu at some point, we are only human after all. Certain flu seasons can be worse than others, and as much as we try to avoid other sick people, the truth is that bacteria and viruses are everywhere we go. Arguably one of the most stressful things a parent can go through is having an ill child, especially an infant. Here are some ways of caring for a baby with the flu.
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When To Be Concerned:
- If your infant is 0-3 months old and has a rectal temperature of 100.4 F / 38 C or higher, call a doctor immediately, regardless of if there are any other symptoms.
- If your baby is 3 months or older and has a rectal temperature of 104 F / 40 C or higher for more than 24 hours, but it otherwise acting/eating normal, call the doctor.
- If your child is 3-6 months old, has a temperature of 101 F / 38.3 C or higher and is refusing liquids, extremely fussy, lethargic, has a possible earache, coughing, vomiting or has diarrhea- call your doctor.
- If your child is older than 6 months and has a fever of 103 F / 39.4 C or higher and is refusing liquids, extremely fussy, lethargic, has a possible earache, coughing, vomiting or has diarrhea- call your doctor.
- Always call the doctor if- your baby pale, has no wet diapers within 8 hours, has blotches/rash/spots, has difficulty breathing or if your baby’s temperature if lower than 97 F / 36 C.
Our bodies don’t get fevers for no reason and it can often be a sign that our children are fighting off an infection, in which case a fever (to a certain extent) can be beneficial. Dr. Sears tells us “low-grade fevers are helpful in fighting off infection. You should only treat a fever when it is making your child miserable. Treat your child, not the fever.” Baby’s can get fevers for a variety of reasons:
- Bacterial Infection- such as pneumonia, strep throat, ear infection or bladder infection.
- Viral Infection- such as the flu, chicken pox, fifth disease, roseola and hand, foot and mouth disease.
- Teething- teething is one of the reasons behind a fever that most likely cause no other symptoms.
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Assuming that you have evaluated the fever and made the confident decision that your baby does not yet need to see a practitioner, here are steps to care for your baby at home:
* Important Note: Never Give Your Child Aspirin / Acetylsalicylic Acid*
- There is not much medication that should be given to babies, but there some brands that have acetaminophen for children from 0 – 2 years, see the dosage guidelines here. Contact a nurse hotline or your doctor before administering any medication.
- Use a humidifier if your child has nasal congestion, along with pure saline and a bulb syringe or other suction device such as the NoseFrida.
- If your baby is vomiting, nurse or bottle feed your child small amounts at a time. Too much all at once can overwhelm their belly and cause it to come right back up. Give them a little bit, wait for it to settle for 20 minutes, and give them a little bit more and so on.
- If your child has a fever, a lukewarm bath can bring wonderful comfort. It’s really important not to make the bath too warm, as obviously, this won’t help. On the flip side, making it too cool can give them the chills and cause their muscles to tense up. Find a comfortable balance. Make sure that your baby gets dried off immediately afterward and is kept covered while changing them, so they don’t get a chill.
- Snuggle time is honestly the best medicine, when my daughter isn’t feeling well, she heals 10x faster if she is held 24/7 (literally). Put on your favorite Netflix series and get comfortable, it’s really important to be compassionate and keep our babies close when they’re not feeling well.
I am not a doctor, this information is purely based on research, along with my own personal experience of caring for a baby with the flu. Listening to your ‘mom gut’ is vital if you feel there is something wrong (regardless of symptoms), seek help! No question is a stupid question, remember that doctors work for us, and we can all agree that we would rather be too cautious rather than not cautious enough, especially when it comes to caring for a baby with the flu.
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Tags: baby with fever, baby with flu, baby with the flu, cold, sick child, vomiting