Monday, September 10, 2018

#MomVsFlu – A journey from worriers to warriors!

If you have read my previous blog or followed my social media updates, you know how my li'l one is a fussy eater, with a not-so-good immunity and hence frequently catches the cold and has even had flu and pneumonia. Both of these latter instances have been nothing less than a nightmare for me, seeing my kid so weak, suffering in pain not even being able to express what’s bothering him - all breathless and being nebulized and the blood tests and x-rays. If you're a parent, you will know what I mean.
Hence I was glad to be an audience to a panel discussion that spoke about Influenza. The what, how, why etcetera. We started off with penning down what according to us are the symptoms of flu. I wrote - loss of appetite, fever, runny nose, inactive and lethargic, irritability, muscle pain, sore throat, cough and vomiting.

Did you know that the influenza virus (commonly known as flu) can spread as far as 6 feet away? So if someone sneezed in one corner of a room it can get passed on to another person easily. It's contagious because it can be transferred through coughing, sneezing, talking, physical touch.

The stereotype is that the poor stay in a more unhygienic condition and prone to illness. But a shocking insight was that there are more cases of flu in kids coming from affluent families. How? These kids go to premium schools, which have AC classes which means no ventilation - the flu spreads in the classroom - affecting all kids. So, how prone are you to catching a flu is totally dependent on your environment conditions.

Who are at a higher risk of flu?

1. Kids - They're still building their immunity, go to the school, playground and other new conditions and environments.

2. Pregnant women - Women during their pregnancy have a lower immunity, reduced lung capacity and hormonal - which all make them more susceptible to catching a virus.

3. Senior Citizens

4. Patients suffering from some chronic diseases like diabetes, arthritis etc.

It is extremely vital to vaccinate the pregnant mother or even before, during the planning stage - as a flu during pregnancy can really complicate things - like reduced oxygen supply to the baby, growth restriction in baby, premature delivery and other birth defects. I remember getting a flu shot during my pregnancy as well. And it can be taken at any time of the pregnancy- the sooner the better, there is no harm at all.

Coming to kids, for the first year all vaccinations are given religiously - and there are so many! But what about once they're preschoolers? Last year my kiddo got the flu and our paediatrician told us that every year a flu shot has to be given. As it's effects lasts only as much as a year and the virus keeps changing and modifying. India being a tropical region, the flu season is typically during monsoons and winters - as the virus thrives in cold and moisture. WHO decides the virus of the year in January every year and by April the new vaccine is available everywhere. So the best time to vaccinate is just before school reopens - Sometime around May. And remember! It takes a couple of weeks for the vaccine to give the immunity boost, so don't wait for just one day before school reopening.

When to visit the doctor?

For pregnant ladies - if you have a temperature above 100 degree Fahrenheit, are coughing mucus - go to the doctor.

For babies and children - if there is uncontrolled fever for more than 24 hours, sudden spikes in the temperature, no intake - food and liquid, flaring of the nose, breathlessness and wheezing - go to your paediatrician asap.

Always remember, a mother's intuition is always best. And it's always better to visit the doctor than wait - waiting may get worse. And hydrate the kid - intake of fluids is absolutely essential when having a flu. It also helps the temperature come down.

Dr.Pai from the panel, who is a renowned paediatrician, asked us mom bloggers how many of us get ourselves a flu shot annually as well, and there were only 4-5 hands up in the air. I had got one during my pregnancy, but after that it's just been for the kiddo, never thought of having it for myself or the spouse and other family members. It was an eye-opener for me, why wasn't I told about this before? And as Dr.Mukesh Gupta rightly stated- vaccine is less painful than waxing - no reason to procrastinate. He had a nice term for it - samuhik vaccination. The whole family should go together and get the annual flu shot, and not only if going to USA or UK. We otherwise are carriers of the virus, most likely to pass it on to our kids.

The panel discussion also had well-known actor and mother of two - Genelia Dsouza who is a part of this initiative with the motto of spreading the awareness of Influenza in India. She also told us not to ever hesitate in asking end number of questions, however silly, to the doctors - it's always better to be safe than sorry and prevention is always better than cure, right?

For more information on Influenza -

Find/Consult a Doctor- 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:

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.

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