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How to Treat an Infant Who Has the Flu

Treating an infant with the flu can usually be accomplished at home without having to visit the doctor. Keeping a close eye on infants with the flu, and treating symptoms will ease their pain and help the flu move along. The flu is a contagious illness caused by the influenza virus and is most common during the winter months. This illness is spread by coming in contact with someone who has the flu; it can take up to five days before showing symptoms.
The flu can be dangerous in infants, so if a baby has a temperature higher than 101 degrees F, seems lethargic, is coughing, and has the chills and a runny nose, consult a doctor.

Difficulty: Easy


Things You'll Need:

  • Antibacterial hand soap
  • Frozen fruit bars or popsicles
  • Soup or broth
  • Acetaminophen
  • Bulb syringe
  • Soft towel
  1. Start by keeping yourself healthy by taking safety precautions such as washing hands as often as possible with antibacterial hand soap. This will help keep you from getting the flu, making it easier for you to continue caring for your infant.

  2. Remove all items from the baby's environment that may have flu contaminates on them--such as bedding, pacifiers and toys--and wash them thoroughly with soap and hot water in either a washing machine, dishwasher or by hand to kill any influenza virus.

  3. Provide your baby with liquids as often as possible. According to, breast-feed or bottle-feed the baby often, and if she is eating solid foods, offer your baby frozen fruit bars or soup broth.

  4. Encourage the infant to sleep as often as possible. If he is tired, allow him to sleep--even if it is not his regular naptime.

  5. Treat a low fever with infant's acetaminophen as recommended on packaging or by a doctor. If your baby is younger than 3 months, or you are uncertain if acetaminophen is safe for your infant, contact a doctor. Never give aspirin to children, as it can cause a rare liver disorder called Reye syndrome in children with certain illnesses, such as colds and flu.

  6. Treat a cough by administering warm liquids in a bottle bottle-feeding infants. Breast milk is naturally warm, so breast-feeding a baby who nurses may help. Sitting in a steamy bathroom for five to ten minutes will assist with easing a dry throat.

  7. Streat a stuffy nose with a bulb syringe to allow infants easy breathing. Wipe discharge from an infant's nose with a soft towel to keep their sensitive skin from getting dried out.

  8. Continue to treat infant flu symptoms until they dissipate. According to, flu symptoms can last from three to five days. If an infant's flu symptoms last longer, contact a doctor to discuss other options.

Read more: How to Treat an Infant Who Has the Flu |

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