I am an Aunt to Twin Nieces. The joy they bring to our lives is priceless and I love watching them grow. When they started going to school last year our entire family was very excited. Buying them their uniforms, school bags and water bottles was an experience, as we enjoyed their firsts with them.
Their first day of school was bittersweet. They settled in slowly, and we were happy. After a month into school my niece came home with watery eyes, a runny nose and said she felt warm. As we were speaking to her Paediatrician the other twin started getting cranky. Before an hour was up, both the kids were down with flu, or Influenza as it is known.
What is Influenza?
Influenza is popularly known as ‘The Flu’. It is a common viral infection caused by the influenza virus. A contagious respiratory illness, Influenza is a very common infection with more than 10 Million cases per year.
Symptoms of the Flu:
The Flu generally starts with;
- A fever or feeling feverish
- Sore throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Muscle/Body Ache
- A feeling of exhaustion
How the Flu spreads:
The Flu is highly contagious and it usually spreads-
By Touch: People can be exposed to and contact the Flu by touching a surface or object that has been touched by an infected person, and then touching their mouth, eyes or nose with those hands.
Through the air: Flu viruses are air borne and mainly spread through tiny droplets expelled when people infected by the flu cough, sneeze or talk. These droplets could be inhaled by people around them and then show up as flu. People with flu can spread it to others up to about 6 feet away.
Who are at the risk of being infected by the Flu ?
We assume we are healthy and won’t catch a cold or influenza, this is not true. Everyone is susceptible and our body is exposed to many risks on a daily basis . However some are more susceptible:
Influenza is more hazardous than the common cold in children.
Unfortunately, they are the ones to be affected by it first, due to their low immunity.
Children under 5 years of age are a high risk group.
Children with chronic health problems like asthma, diabetes and disorders of the brain and nervous system are especially at high risk of developing serious flu complications.
Changes in the immune system, heart, and lungs during pregnancy make pregnant women (and women up to two weeks postpartum) more prone to severe illness from flu, as well as to hospitalizations.
Pregnant women with flu also have a greater chance of developing serious problems for their unborn baby, including premature labour and delivery.
The Elderly are also easy targets for Influenza due to their low immunity.
How to prevent catching the flu?
- Take required precautions when around an infected person.
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water.
- Vaccination for high risk people is especially important to decrease their risk of severe flu illness, especially in children below 2 years of age and pregnant women.
- Please consult a doctor nearest you to know more on flu and flu vaccination.
I was fortunate to attend the discussion on influenza with a distinguished panel, consisting of Dr Mukesh Gupta, a Mumbai based Gynecologist, Dr Uday Pai, an eminent Paediatrician and Bollywood Star Genelia D’souza Deshmukh, a mother of two.
While Genelia spoke about the perils and learnings of motherhood, Dr Mukesh and Dr Pai backed her up narratives with their medical experience. It was an enlightening meet where we realised that no matter what your profession may be, if you’re a Mother the worries you may have for your children are universal.
My takeaways from the Meet:
A ‘Saamuhik Vaccination’, where the entire family, even the caretakers, gets vaccinated against Influenza should become a routine of life. Best time of year to take vaccine is just before schools reopen. For both children and moms.
When one family member catches the Flu the chances of the other members catching it is high. When the entire family gets Vaccinated annually, everyone is protected.
Find/Consult a Doctor- Vaccinating Doctors can be found in every locality with a simple search by a pincode. In case, one is looking for a doctor, here is a simple way to find Doctors who vaccinate. Follow the below link to consult a doctor http://www.mothersagainstinfluenza.in/doctor-list.htmlNo Mother should be a Worrier, she is a Warrior. The best way to tackle your questions about Flu is by talking to your doctor - Genelia D'Souza Deshmukh. Click To Tweet
Disclaimer: I attended a discussion on influenza awareness facilitated by Abbott India Limited. Any opinion expressed in this blog is my personal opinion and not the opinion of Abbott India Limited. Abbott India Limited does not assume any liability for the content of the blog. The blog post is not meant to be a replacement for a doctor consultation, nor is it a medical recommendation or prescription of treatment for babies having Influenza. Any reader of this blog or their family members suffering from Influenza should specifically consult his/her doctor for the same and follow the suggested course of treatment.
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