Prevention is better than cure; how preventive measures against influenza facilitated our ‘back-to-normal’ journey!
The world is in recovering mode from the onslaught of the pandemic, and things are looking hopeful. In April, schools reopened in Mumbai after a hiatus of 2.5 years. Shall we send kids below the age of 12 years to school without preventive vaccination, was on every parent’s mind. A few parents were ready to send their wards from day one, others adopted a wait and watch strategy.
I was wary of the situation too, nevertheless, I sent my child with proper protection and advisory of dos and don’ts. Apart from the pandemic, the threat of falling prey to seasonal flu and infections was my second biggest worry. It was time to talk to a health care expert and seek professional advice.
The doctor advised me to get seasonal influenza shots for adults and children to rest the worry, and I was more than happy to oblige. Seasonal flu or influenza can be easily misinterpreted as common cold and cough, but it is more dangerous and can lead to complications if not treated at the right time.1
What is Influenza and who is at risk?
Influenza is a viral infection caused by the influenza virus that attacks your respiratory system — your nose, throat and lungs. Influenza and the common cold are often used interchangeably but they’re not the same. It is a highly contagious respiratory infection that may cause mild to severe illness in people who are at risk2 i.e.
- Children under the age of 5 years2
- Adults older than age 652
- Healthcare workers – who come in direct contact with the patients2
- Pregnant women and new mothers with babies smaller than 6 months2
- People with weakened immune systems2
- People with chronic illnesses, such as asthma, heart disease, kidney disease, liver disease and diabetes2
Symptoms of influenza
Influenza usually comes on suddenly and those who have flu often feel some or all of these symptoms:2
- Fever or feeling feverish/chills2
- Sore throat2
- Runny or stuffy nose2
- Muscle or body aches2
- Fatigue (tiredness)2
- Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.2
It is vital to get a proper diagnosis before treating the flu. Anyone who comes in contact of an infected person can get affected as it is highly contagious. Flu spreads through tiny droplets when infected people sneeze, cough or talk.2
When to see a Doctor?
The short answer to this question is: as soon as you get any of the flu symptoms!
This is not to press the panic button, but if you feel the symptoms mentioned above or come in the at-risk category, you must not treat yourself and others at home and immediately consult a doctor.
Apart from this, you can also take preventive measures like annual flu vaccination for anyone aged 6 months or older. A dedicated Facebook session by Dr Sadanand Shetye and Dr Mangesh Tiwaskar explained the importance of annual influenza vaccination in easy language that prompted us to get the flu shot at the earliest to #FightAgainstFlu.
Influenza shot in adults, children and at-risk people prevents hospitalization and also frequent doctor visits. Flu vaccination is the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones against flu and its potentially serious complications.3 Getting vaccinated yourself may also protect people around you, including those who are more vulnerable.
The flu viruses are constantly changing. In the past, we have seen how viruses can mutate and pose even more severe danger than their original self. It’s one of the reasons annual influenza vaccination is recommended. Influenza shot for adults, children and at-risk people is the best answer to seasonal flu infections.
The content is not for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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