A few years back, I naively thought I knew what worry was. And then my son was born and I began to experience the big league of worries – The Mom Worries.
I often call to mind, first few months of motherhood, I’d worry about how often my baby was fed, a little sneeze would shake me up, the only count I knew was of his pee, the colour of his poop was a major topic of concern, the only speed dial on my phone was of our paediatrician, He was the center of my world.
Three years of being a mom and guess what, nothing has changed at all.
Speaking of baby’s health, if I were to point out one virus that has attacked my baby the most times in three years is FLU or in medical terms INFLUENZA. It is one of the most common viruses that kids are susceptible to and yet it is one of the most misunderstood one.
There are about 10 million cases of flu in India every year.
To be able to prevent and cure this virus from infecting our children and families, we must get to know it closely.
I recently got an opportunity to attend an event that was aimed at creating awareness about Influenza. While I thought I knew a lot about it already, the discussion that happened at the event made me realise there is a lot more one really needs to know about Influneza.
The discussion at the event, was lead by expert Gynaecologist Dr. Uday Pai and renowned paediatrician Dr. Mukesh Gupta. The expert panel shared with us valuable insights into what flu is and how we as Moms can fight against it. They were kind enough to answer queries of every mom present there.
Also supporting the cause of raising awareness about Influenza was the gorgeous actress Genelia Deshmukh. She shared personal experiences of how she protects her sons against the flu. She further added, “All mothers must go meet your paediatricians, gynaecologist and get all questions answered about flu and staying protected with vaccination”
In this post I share with you what I learnt about Influenza and what every mom must know :
What Is Influenza?
The Flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and lungs.
Flu like illness can be caused by many different viruses. Influenza A/H1N1 (earlier called ‘Swine Flu’) is a type of seasonal flu virus that now occurs around the world.
Influenza viruses is of 3 types: Types A, B & C.
Type A has multiple subtypes based on hemagglutinin (H) & neuraminidase (N) antigens and infects multiple species: Human, Avian, Swine, equine etc. It undergoes genetic mutation resulting in a new virus and causing pandemics, epidemics, seasonal influenza outbreaks and sporadic cases. You can find all the information on the MAI website here
The two most high risk groups susceptible to flu are :
– Children under the age of five years
– Pregnant women
How Can We Prevent Flu?
Prevention is better than cure, this statement holds all the more meaning when used in context with children and pregnant mothers. Hence we must take precautionary actions to keep flu viruses at bay.
Here are a few steps we must take –
– Vaccination is especially important to reduce the risk of severe flu illness
– You must consult your paediatrician and strictly follow the vaccination chart
– Dr. Uday Pai suggests, “Go take a flu vaccine, even before you can get pregnant. Only a healthy body can bring a healthy baby, preconception vaccine is important”
– Dr. Mukesh Pai highlights the significance of protecting the entire family. He says, “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”
– We must inculcate in our kids personal hygiene habits like covering mouth while sneezing or coughing and washing hands with soap often. The best way to do it would be practicing it ourselves
– We must not ignore symptoms like :
1. Fever or feeling feverish/chills
3. Sore Throat
4. Runny or Stuffy Nose
5. Muscles or Body Aches
Doctors also suggest some important dos and don’ts like –
If you are sick with mild flu, limit your contact with other to prevent transmitting the infection to others
If you have fever, you must take paracetamol, drink plenty of water and eat nutritious food and take rest
Monitor your illness and get yourself checked after 24 – 48 hours by your doctor.
Seek immediate medical opinion if you have high fever and severe cough.
Inform the health care staff about your flu symptoms when you visit a health facility.
Use a mask or cover your mouth with a clean handkerchief
The best way to avoid flu is to take an influenza vaccine or a shot. WHO recommends yearly vaccination for nearly all people over the age of six months, especially those at high risk. New versions of these vaccines are developed twice a year as the influenza virus rapidly change. We must follow the vaccination guidelines suggested by the doctor.
#MomVsFlu was indeed a well thought about event, aimed at creating awareness about the most common illness. In order to quell our worries related to flu, all that we really need to do is be aware of the virus and vaccinations.
‘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.’