Haemophilus  influenzae  (HI) is a bacteria that  is found in the upper respiratory tract of humans.   Infections with HI is most common in infants and young children and may occur more frequently in winter months when children are likely to be housed up more or in school settings where respiratory infections may be more common.

HI is responsible for many illnesses including the following:

  • Meningitis
  • Pneumonia
  • Otitis media (meddle ear infections)
  • Epiglottitis  (inflammation and swelling of the glottis at the back of the throat)
  • Septic arthritis
  • Cellulitis
  • Generalized sepsis

Symptoms may include:

  • Fever, often 102-105F
  • Cough
  • Listlessness
  • Vomiting
  • Headache
  • Generalized aching
  • Joint pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Earache
  • Conjunctivitis (inflammation and build up of pus in the eys)
  • Cloudy and yellow nasal drainage

In small children, if any of these symptoms are present, medical help should be obtained.  This is one infection which will require treatment with antibiotics.

There is now a vaccine  called HiB, that has virtually eliminated the more serious forms of HI infection. All children should be immunized against this very bad bug!