How to Prevent and Treat Flu in Babies
You can imagine how amazing it is to be a new mother. The happiness and fulfillment it brings are beyond man’s imagination. However, while your child is still an infant, a lot of illnesses are waiting to attack the newborn’s immune system if you are not cautious enough. Being a new mother who lacks experience in infant health can be a little bit dangerous, and this is why the internet has a lot of articles that discuss varieties of topics on infant health. Do not let the excitement that usually comes with having a newborn make you forget that the infant is still fragile and susceptible to harsh illnesses; this is why immunizing your baby is very important.
In this article, we would be discussing flu, a widespread illness among infants. Flu is caused by a viral infection of the lungs, throat, and nose that spreads through the air when someone sneezes, speaks, or coughs. It is always common among children (ages 0-5) between April, May, and October. This contagious virus leaves your infant very sick, and if the case becomes so complicated, it might lead to death. The baby gets infected when it breathes in the virus from the air or touches a surface containing the virus and then touches its nose, mouth, or eyes with that same hand. Flu is beyond just the typical common cold we know. It is a severe sore throat condition combined with a runny nose, a remarkably and severely unbearable condition for any infant. Imagine a child that little, going through such pain.
Why you should read this article
You would no longer be ignorant of the common illness among children; this article would help you understand the need to immunize your child against the flu, which causes the infection; it would also suggest ways to prevent and treat flu in children. All you need to do is, follow closely throughout this article and understand the concept of flu.
Causes and Mode of Spread
- The cause of this illness is nothing but the influenza virus. A child can contract this virus through the following ways;
- Getting in contact with an infected person, the child contracts it when an infected person, adult, or a child sneezes or coughs, and the droplets from this infected person’s reflex actions drop on your child’s eyes, nose, or mouth.
- Coming in contact with infected objects, ranging from toys to pencils and surfaces like tabletops and so on. This happens when your child touches the object or body an infected person had touched and then touch their own nose, eyes, or mouth with that same hand.
- Age; children between the ages 0 and 5, especially children younger than 2 years old, are more exposed to flu. Also, children below 6 months who are too young to receive the vaccine can easily contract it as nothing is protecting them against it.
- Health conditions; children who have underlying prior health issues like asthma, blood disorders, heart diseases, and so on tend to suffer severe flu complications. Also, premature babies suffer complications of the flu.
Babies cannot explicitly explain how they feel, except they are older. Therefore, it is difficult for them to tell you exactly how they feel; in order to express their discomfort, they cry, and you as a mother run around to take away that discomfort. In the case of flu, children cannot explain to you how they feel; they feel sick, uncomfortable, inactive, and unhappy. This is why a list of symptoms have been compiled for you to look out for, and immediately you notice any of these symptoms, it is advisable you hurry to the hospital to avoid complications.
- Severe and re-occurring dry cough
- Fever, cold, shivering, and chills
- Body pain and headache; body ache so painful that the child cannot move it’s body freely
- Runny or stuffed nose
- Sore throat
- Non-stop diarrhea and vomiting
- Fatigue, being very lazy, sleepy, and extremely weak
- Bluish face or lips
- When chronic health conditions like asthma or heart diseases get worse
- Difficulty in breathing, fast breathing, and chest pain
- Body shaking or seizures
- Not drinking enough water, not urinating as frequently as possible, or does not make tears when crying
- Not waking up, always sleepy
- Unhappy and refusing to play as well as regular interaction with you
- Loss of appetite
- Thick and dark mucus from the nose
These signs can last for up to a week or more. Even if the child had gotten a vaccine for the flu, still do not hesitate to see a health care provider.
This virus’s complications can introduce ugly illnesses extremely heavy for a child below 5 years of age. These illnesses include;
- Making severe heart conditions like heart disease and asthma worse
- Severe brain problems like encephalopathy, a disease that affects the structure and function of the brain
- Dehydration, which is the excessive lack of water in the body
- Pneumonia, a chronic lung disease that affects one or both lungs
- Sinus infections; the accumulation of fluids in the sinuses (air spaces within the bones around the nose)
- Ear infections
- Though this is not rampant, in some cases, the virus’s complication leads to death.
Newborns less than the age of six months who are too young to have the vaccine are more liable to contract the disease If proper care is not taken. In order to protect a child who is too young to have the vaccine, some treatment controls have been put in place to clear them of the illness, pending the time they grow old enough to receive the vaccine. These treatment tips would help make the symptoms milder, cut short the duration of the virus, and prevent complications.
- If you notice a symptom like dehydration, continue breast or bottle-feeding the baby to prevent the complications of dehydration.
- Help your baby rest by allowing quiet activities.
- For fever, the medical record suggests Tylenol; however, it is advisable to seek a pediatrician’s opinion on the doses to give the child based on weight and age (of course, the child has to be 6 months or below.)
- For a runny nose and dry cough, try suctioning the baby’s nose followed by nasal saline drops and try applying a cool-mist humidifier as well; these would help the baby eat and sleep well.
- Even after the commencement of treatment, make sure you stay in touch with your child’s pediatrician.
If, after these treatment processes, your baby continues to show symptoms, then you need to hurry to the hospital immediately.
- While you are still pregnant, you can get flu shots.
- Always carry alcohol-based sanitizer gels with you and use it whenever you come in contact with messy surfaces.
- Stick to a healthy diet and feeding routine in order to build a strong immune system for yourself and the baby you are breastfeeding.
- If your child is over 6 months, take the child for flu shots and vaccines.
- Every family member should get flu shots to prevent spreading it to the child while interacting with the child.
- Keep your infant, who is too young to get the vaccine, away from sick or infected people.
- Practice personal and general hygiene by cleaning surfaces that babies would touch. Also, wash their toys with antiseptics.
- Disinfect your home.
- Wash your hands frequently and teach your older children how to wash their hands and explain to them the need for handwashing.
- Make sure your baby gets enough fluid and rest.
- For younger children, wash their hands for them until they grow to cultivate the habit themselves.
- Monitor your child closely and look out for symptoms.
- Attack it immediately, you notice the symptoms.
- Always stay in touch with your Doctor.
Now that you understand what flu is about, it is very important to protect your babies from contracting this virus. It is also important to treat yourself, as contracting it yourself means you can infect your baby with it as it is incredibly contagious. Observe general hygiene and proper diet for yourself and for your baby. Also, in order to prevent complications, report to the hospital when you notice any weird symptom.
Suffering from flu over a long time can cause various health issues, including the deformity of the brain, and I know you would not want a fragile, innocent child to get internally deformed before you take action. Protecting your child is key, and having the knowledge about it is the beginning of its prevention. Stick to these methods and give your child a healthy life.