Influenza spreads around the world in a yearly outbreak, resulting in about three to five million cases of severe illness
Influenza, commonly known as Flu is an illness caused by the Influenza Virus which attacks the respiratory tract of humans, animals, and birds! The person who gets this infection, suffers from fever, headache, cough and feels tired all the time. Some people are also known to develop sore throat, vomiting, diarrhea and nausea.
What is Flu/ Influenza?
Influenza viruses is of 3 types: Types A, B & C. Type A has multiple subtypes and infects multiple species: Human, Avian, Swine, equine etc.
Find more information about Flu at MAI website, a credible source for more information on Influenza- http://www.mothersagainstinfluenza.in/
How does Flu Spread?
Flu easily spreads through the air. So if a person who is infected, coughs or sneezes around you – you will get infected. You can also get this virus if you use or touch anything that’s already used by an infected person. So think, handkerchiefs, toys, plates, spoons and what not. Most people recover within a couple of weeks. But sometimes these Flu outbreaks are severe.
Flu vs Cold
Common cold is not same as flu. Influenza is very different and we should not mistake them for each other.
Even though the symptoms of Flu and Cold are almost the same, the virus causes severe infection in case of Flu Virus and may have fatal consequences.
Who is at Risk?
We assume I am healthy and I 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
- Uday Pai
Children, their parents and everyone is susceptible to Flu. It transmits through air and so if you get Infuenza, you can very well transmit to your family and kids. Schools, playing Ground, even pools and everywhere – a single person can transmit this virus on to your family.
Children below the age of 5 and Pregnant Women are at a very high risk of developing Complications due to Flu. Pregnant women can get severe illness in comparison to other women. Pregnancy causes a lot of changes in a woman’s body and hence the complications caused by Flu are severe too, it is also noted that there is grave danger to the unborn child as well. Even Postpartum ( up to 2 months) women are susceptible and a target for serious complications.
How to Prevent Flu? – #MomVsFlu
Go take a flu vaccine, even before you can get pregnant. Only a healthy body can bring a healthy baby, preconception vaccine is important.
Influenza undergoes frequent antigenic changes that require new vaccines to be developed and people to obtain a new vaccination every year. Thus it is important to get Flu Vaccines Yearly. We often believe that it is enough to give the Vaccines to kids, but even adults in the family need it.
I was fortunate enough to attend #MomVsFlu event which was an Eye-Opener for me of what Influenza is and also helped bust some myths about it too. Dr. Mukesh, [Gynecologist/ Obstetrician, Mumbai] and Dr. Uday Pai [Pediatrician, Mumbai] and Famed Actress and Supporter of this cause Genelia D’Souza presided over the Influenza Awareness Blogger Event and educated us about so many things. I absolutely was boggled at how little information is out there and how many things I was unaware of about Influenza! Here are some of the insights that I would like to share with you!
- Samuhik Vaccination– by Dr Mukesh Mehta stressed that Flu spreads by touching, coughing, sneezing by flu affected person onto babies. So it’s best that families – parents, grandparents and even caretakers of the babies get vaccinated. You yourself can give your child a flu! So moms, please get yourself vaccinated.
- Pregnancy precaution – Pregnant Woman should take Flu Vaccine before they deliver. This makes sure that not only is the mother protected but also the unborn baby is protected even after it is born. Remember a New – Born baby can only get a Flu vaccine after 6 months, so pregnant mom need to get vaccinated. Further Dr. Mukesh stressed that the Pregnant moms can take influenza vaccine at anytime during their pregnancy. It is absolutely safe.
- Worriers to Warriors– When Genelia said – “No mother must be a Worrier, she’s a Warrior. Best way to tackle your questions about flu is to talking to your doctor”, I couldn’t help Nod my head! Instead of worrying about our babies suffering from Flu we should become more Flu and vaccination aware
- Vaccines may take 4 to 6 weeks to develop complete immunity in your body, so you must take it before any epidemic like swine flu [Dr. Uday Pai]
- Best time to take vaccine – Best time of the year to take vaccine is just before schools reopen. For both children and moms. “April, May, June is the best period to take influenza vaccination for children and whole family for complete prevention against flu
As a Fellow Mom, I made an instant connect to the way Genelia talked about Flu and its effects. When she said that her elder child could carry a flu virus and my younger child may get infected. So it is important to protect them both and get the whole family vaccinated – it resonated with me! Apart from talking at large about Influenza and Vaccination she also asked all mothers to go meet their paediatricians, gynaecologist and get all questions answered about flu and stay protected with vaccination.
PREVENTIVE ACTIONS AS SUGGESTED BY THE DOCTORS
- Take proper precautions at all times, 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 of high risk persons 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 to know more on flu and flu vaccination.
The Do’s and Don’ts – BE AWARE
- If you feel sick with Flu Symptoms, do not panic. Immediately make an appointment and meet your Doctor. Make sure to minimize your contacts with family and friends so as to not transmit it.
- Don’t Self-medicate. Follow Doctors advice.
- Inform the hospital staff of your symptoms. Use a mask or handkerchief at all times while you are there.
- Use a Handkerchief at all times when coughing.
- Do not share bottles, spoons, towels – or anything you have used during this period. And clean all your clothes and things you use with a Sterilizing agent.
- Wash your hands as often as you can
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends yearly vaccination for nearly all people over the age of six months, especially those at high risk since a new version of the vaccine is developed twice a year, for the dynamic nature of the influenza virus. These groups include pregnant women, the elderly, children between six months and five years of age, those with other health problems, and those who work in healthcare.
I hope this post helps make you aware of Influenza and helps you understand the Flu and Preventive measures we can take. And why It is important to get vaccinated yearly. I am sure you as a Mom can make informed choices once you know about the issues surrounding you. I implore you to go and have a talk with your doctors [Find a Doctor] and check out these facts on your own. I hope this helps you make important health related decisions, getting vaccinated is the easiest and safest way to protect oneself from any type of virus!
More about the Doctors and their experience –
Dr. Mukesh Gupta – Gynecologist Dr. Mukesh Gupta is a Gynecologist/ Obstetrician, practicing in Mumbai. He holds a rich experience of 16 years in his field. Apart from academic excellence (topper in University at the MD Ob/Gyn Examination), he has been awarded the ‘Emerging Star of Medicine’ by Indian Medical Association MWSB in 2011, thus reflecting acknowledgment by his peers and seniors. Besides several other awards and acknowledgments, he has been a faculty at various national and International academic meets in the subject of his expertise. He has pioneered the structured counseling modules for Premarital Relationship Enhancement Program (PREP) and Prenatal Workshops for pregnant women. He has been the President of Association Of Fellow Gynaecologists and Office Bearer in Malad Medical Association, Association of Medical Consultants and held responsible positions in several other Medical and Social Organisations. He also mentors students from BITS Pilani, a premier institute with campuses in Pilani, Goa, Hyderabad, who come for summer internship programs (Practice School) under his guidance at LENEST, Malad on subjects related to Healthcare Management.
Dr. Uday Ananth Pai – Pediatrician Pediatrician (MD, DCH Distinction ) with 29 years of work experience in strategy and business development, consulting, research and analytics, project management and developing strategies for global pharmaceutical, healthcare and nutrition businesses and products. Have provided decision support to leading global healthcare and pharmaceutical organizations. He currently practices in Mumbai.
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. Provide the following link in your blogs to Consult a Doctor http://www.mothersagainstinfluenza.in/doctor-list.html
“Disclaimer: I attended a discussion on influenza awareness facilitated by Abbott IndiaLimited. 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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