I am a Mother against Influenza

Is cough, sore throat, runny nose a frequent episode at your home especially with the kids under the age of Five years old?

If your answer is YES, then you must continue to read thisarticle till the end as I wish to share some deep root causes of these frequent episodes and their solutions. So I had the privilege of attending an informatory session on Influenza, commonly known as FLU. Flu and Cold are commonly mistaken for one and the same thing, and the terms are often used interchangeably. However, both are two completely different conditions. And the difference is Flu usually gets associated with fever, chills while cold doesn’t.

The informatory session on Influenza was addressed by Dr. Mukesh Gupta who is a Gynecologist/Obstetrician practicing in Mumbai with a rich experience of 16 years and Dr. Uday Pai who is a Pediatrician practicing for more than 3 decades now.

During the session the honorable Speakers shared some underlying root cause of Influenza disease and helped us bursting most of our myths about it. They also shed light on how we can adopt preventive measures to battle this common yet neglected disease- Influenza.

Let’s begin with knowing some basic about Influenza.

What is INFLUENZA?

Flu, short for influenza, is a viral infection that affects humans (especially Pregnant Woman, Children under age of Five and Senior citizens or basically people with compromised immunity are most vulnerable to this virus).. It is caused by influenza virus that specifically targets the respiratory system of the body. The influenza virus is of three types – A, B, and C.

How does influenza spread?

Flu is highly contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat and lungs.

Children can catch influenza from siblings, parents, other family members, playmates or caregivers whereas adults too can catch it from other members of the family or while commuting or even may be while in a closed area.

Germs usually spread in one of three ways:

• Direct contact —such as, Coming in direct contact of an infected person especially when coughing or sneezing

• From an infected person. People with Flu can spread it to others up to about six feet away.

• Indirect contact means touching something—a toy, doorknob or a used tissue—that has been touched by an infected person and now has germs on it.

Typical influenza symptoms include:

• sudden fever,

• chills and shakes,

• headache, https://bit.ly/2oO1LmC

• muscle aches,

• extreme fatigue,

• dry cough and sore throat and,

• Loss of appetite.

As mentioned above that Influenza virus attacks people with compromised immunity like Pregnant Woman, Children below five years of age and Senior Citizens.

Dr. Gupta during the entire session kept emphasizing on how important it is for a Mom-to-be to be immunized. He also suggested the Flu shot should be taken before planning a pregnancy but if incase it is missed than the expectant Mother should get immunized during the pregnancy as it is completely safe. In fact Dr. Pai also added that We Mothers can also give flu infection to our kids hence we too must get immunized.

It was an awakening session for me as my toddler is going to start his school journey from this June onwards and there were few pointers that made me think to look at various aspects while scouting for a school for my little one. For instance, Dr. Pai threw light on the fact that how closed rooms with air conditioners can contribute torepetitive episode of diseases while Dr Gupta states, April, June is the best time to get your children vaccinated just before the school starts/reopens. The solution is increased awareness about the preventive measures of Influenza like getting immunized.

So here is a list of what can we do to prevent it:

• Influenza can be prevented through Immunization. Children over 6 months old should get a flu shot each year. The vaccine is especially important for children who are at high risk of complications from the flu (children under 5 years old and children with chronic conditions).

• If there are children younger than 5 years old or someone with a serious chronic condition in your home, everyone living in the house should get a flu shot. Also, children under 6 months old in the home should get a shot, since babies this age can’t get the flu shot themselves and could become infected if a family member gets the flu.

• Hand washing is the most important way to reduce the spread of viruses

• Keep babies under 3 months old away from people with colds, if possible.

• Teach your children to cover their nose and mouth with tissues when they sneeze or cough, or to cough into their upper sleeve or elbow.

• Avoid sharing toys that young children with flu place in their mouths until the toys have been cleaned.

• Avoid sharing cups, utensils or towels used by children with flu until they have been washed.

• Make sure your child receives all of the recommended vaccines.

As my Mommy brain started wandering into a worrisome causeway, there came another Mommy who started her speech with a powerful message that No Mother should be a Worrier as we are Warriors. She was none other than Actress Genelia Deshmukh. Trust me with each word spoken; she just sounded like another Mother…no celebrity air…no fake talks. She is a Mom of Two child, both under the age of five. Hence, she shared how she too, like most of us used to mistake cold as influenza and later realized how different they both were. She further added how regularly talking to your Pediatrician helps you to keep the situation under control. She also emphasized on the fact that how we Moms as the primary caregiver can end up giving them the infection. The best way to tackle the situation is that the whole family gets vaccinated.

Thereafter Dr. Pai informed us all that Influenza attacks can be prevented by administering a WHO-approved anti-influenza vaccine every year. Since the virus can mutate, the vaccine has to be taken every year. Vaccines take 4-6 weeks to develop complete immunity in the body, so it must be taken before any epidemic like swine Flu breaks out.

Vaccinating Doctors can be found in every locality with a simple search by a pin code. In case, one is looking for a Doctor, here is a simple way to find Doctors who vaccinate. Just click on the link

https://www.mothersagainstinfluenza.in/doctor-list.html

All in all it was a session where most of our myths about the Flu disease like what to eat/feed, how to treat and precautions to be taken were addressed by both the honorable Doctors.

For more Information, You can visit

https://www.mothersagainstinfluenza.in/

I am a Mother against Influenza. Are You?

“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 ofAbbott India Limited. Abbott India Limited does not assume any liability for the content of theblog. The blog post is not meant to be a replacement for a doctor consultation, nor is it a medicalrecommendation 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 doctorfor the same and follow the suggested course of treatment.”

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