Baby Care Basics: What are the Signs of Flu?

Learn how to tell if Baby's sniffles are a cold or the flu and when to call the doctor.


Influenza is a viral infection that primarily affects the respiratory system, and is generally seen in the fall and winter. It can be especially dangerous in infants because their immune systems are still immature. They can get their first flu vaccine when they're six months old. Call your pediatrician if your baby shows these signs of the flu: sudden fever; unusual sleepiness; decreased appetite; dry, hacking cough; chills and body shakes; fussiness; stuffy or runny nose. Your doctor may give your baby an antiviral medicine to fight off the flu. The earlier you start it, the better it works. So, call your doctor as soon as you notice symptoms. Pain relievers like infants' acetaminophen and ibuprofen for babies over six months old can bring down her fever and make her feel better. But for any child younger than three months, call your doctor before giving any medication for fever. Make sure she gets plenty to drink. If she won't feed or seems to be having fewer wet diapers than normal, visit the doctor.

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