We are a happy nuclear family of four members which is me, my husband and my two naughty daughters. Being a mother and a wife, I always try to follow on the famous saying which is “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. During my pregnancy days, I used to be very cautious and attentive regarding my health and my baby’s development. Even after the birth of my both daughters, I took the utmost care about their vaccinations. But with the passage of years, I noticed that whenever the temperature of the environment drops, my family starts sneezing and coughing. Addition to this, symptoms like headache, runny nose, and mild fever enter into my home as an unwanted guest. As flu is contagious in nature, it starts with my husband and moves down to my kids one by one. This cycle continues for at least two months every year. Due to this repetition of coughing and sneezing episodes, my visits to the doctor becomes frequent.
A few days back, I got an opportunity to attend an Influenza Awareness Bloggers Meet #MOMVSFLU. This meet was completely an interactive and informative one where the renowned doctors were present to address the queries of the moms and to provide some useful facts about Influenza. I met Dr Mukesh Gupta who is a renowned Gynecologist & Obstetrician with rich experience of 16 years and practising in Mumbai. He has been awarded the title of “Emerging Star of the Medicine” by Indian Medical Association, MWSB in 2011. He has been the faculty at various national and international academic meets with the subject of his expertise.
Along with Dr Gupta, I also got an opportunity to meet Dr Uday Ananth Pai, who is a Pediatrician (MD, DCH Distinction) and practices in Mumbai. He has gained 29 years of vast experience in strategy and business development, consulting, research and analytics, project management and developing strategies for global pharmaceutical, healthcare and nutrition business and products.
Now I would like to spread awareness on Influenza to all Moms through this blog of mine so that we all can fight against Influenza as warriors. #MOMVSFLU
What is Influenza and what are its symptoms?
It is a highly contagious viral infection which affects the respiratory system of a human body causing fever, aching, and coughing. Its symptoms are more severe than a common cold. The symptoms typically include a high fever, headache, body pain, cough, sore throat and tiredness. In some of the cases, we may observe runny or stuffy nose followed by nausea and vomiting. It is a very common infection. Every year, more than 10 million cases are observed.
How does the flu spread?
Flu is considered to be highly contagious wherein an infected person can spread flu virus through coughing and sneeze even by standing six feet away. This virus can also be spread by touching infected surfaces and objects. For example, if an infected person sneezes, the droplets may land on any object or on the surface and if other person gets in touch with these droplets which have the influenza viruses in it, may get exposed to Influenza.
How can it be prevented?
The first and the primary method of preventing your child from Influenza is to go for “Saamuhik Vaccination” (as pointed by Dr Mukesh Gupta during the event). As flu spreads through coughing, sneezing, touching an infected surface, it is good to have a vaccination for an entire family, even for the caretakers.
If you’re a pregnant woman, talk to your obstetrician about the Flu vaccine. This vaccine can be taken anytime during the pregnancy and it is absolutely safe.
Apart from the vaccination, there are some other preventive measures too, which can be adopted in a daily routine to prevent flu virus to spread.
Cover your nose and mouth while coughing and sneezing.
Wash your hands with soap and water. You can also use sanitizers in case of non-availability of soap and water and while travelling too.
You should take proper care and precautions while being around to an infected person.
Do not hesitate to talk to your doctor about the flu and its vaccination. You may also check here for a complete understanding and facts about Influenza.
Points to Remember
If you’re infected with mild flu and fever, it is advisable to limit your contact with an external environment so that the condition doesn't aggravate.
Do not buy any over-the-counter medicines. Take a proper consultation with your doctor and follow the doctor’s instructions carefully. To find a doctor in your locality you can click here. Find a Doctor
If suffering from fever, drink plenty of fluids, eat nutritious food and take proper rest. You can take paracetamol to control down the fever.
Always cover your mouth with a mask or a handkerchief while coughing and sneezing.
Is vaccination for Influenza so important?
A vaccination is a first and a primary method to protect your child from the flu virus. The children who are less than 5 years of age are more vulnerable to this Flu virus. Therefore, once your baby attains the age of 6 months, you should consult with the paediatrician and ask for the Flu vaccine. It will safeguard your child from the complicated symptoms of influenza. It is very important to get them vaccinated each and every year. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends the vaccination for an entire family, especially to a pregnant woman, an elderly family member and a child between the age of 6 months to 5 years. As Dr Uday Pai mentioned during the program, “Vaccines may take 4 to 6 weeks to build complete immunity in your body, so you must take it before any epidemic like swine flu breaks out.”
For a pregnant woman, it is important to get vaccinated, as during pregnancy the immunity of a body decreases, making it more prone to infections and illnesses. A pregnant woman with flu can suffer from complications like preterm labour and delivery. A pregnant lady can get herself vaccinated for Influenza anytime during her pregnancy and it is completely safe. A consultation with an obstetrician is needed.
Let us bust out some Myths and throw some lights on Facts that are associated with Influenza and its vaccination. Some of them have been mentioned with the help of this following table:
1. Flu is like a common cold.
2. Children are only prone to Flu.
3. Flu shots or Flu vaccines are needed only once a lifetime.
4. Affluent family’s children do not get infected with Flu viruses as they send their kids to good schools with AC
5. Influenza vaccination is only associated with kids.
6. The vaccination for Influenza is NOT safe during pregnancy.
1. Flu is completely different from the common cold and it should NOT be mistaken as same. Flu includes fever while a regular cold would not.
2. Even Moms and a healthy body are susceptible to the Flu virus.
3. Flu shots have to be given every year to prevent your complete family from Flu virus. April, May and June is the best time to take Influenza vaccines.
4. This virus has nothing to do with this. One infected child can spread Flu to other kids faster as premium schools have AC in their classrooms, where the windows of the classrooms are kept closed.
5. This vaccination needs to be taken by an adult also since a Mom can even spread the Flu virus to her kids.
6. Pregnant Mom can take the vaccination for Influenza during any time of her pregnancy. It is completely safe.
Furthermore, we had Mrs GeneliaDeshmukh who came forward to support this great cause. While being in the event she stated a very beautiful statement, “No mother must be a Worrier, she’s a Warrior. Best way to tackle your questions about flu is to talk to your doctor.”
For more information check here- Mother Against Flu
With this note, I would conclude that all moms become more aware of the Influenza virus, and talk to their paediatrician regarding its vaccination. Now, is the time #MOMVSFLU
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.”