I was a carefree person before but since motherhood, I worry all the time for the well- being of my daughter. Childcare with nutrition and health and well -being come inherently to every mother. A Mom personifies the role of a protector. Mothers cannot tolerate that her child is susceptible to illness or injury. Even a sneeze makes a mother go into a combat mode.
I always assumed that I was a very a cautious mom. I consulted with my doctor to discuss nutrition, physical and mental fitness of my child. I always believed that since my daughter didn’t fall ill often she was not vulnerable to illness.
I believed that I had not missed a single vaccine for my child. I have rather given all possible vaccines to my daughter
However, many myths were busted the day I attended the Influenza awareness meet and I got to know that my child can be vulnerable and susceptible to flu.
That’s when I also learnt about prevention. I understood the true meaning of the phrase ‘Prevention is better than cure’ though cliché it may sound.
Mostly we tend to mistaken flu symptoms for the common cold and then within a matter of hours, fever increases and we need to consult the doctor immediately. This has happened to me a few years back when I was travelling with my then three -year old daughter. She had a bout of cold and was sneezing. I just gave her medicine for the common cold as prescribed by the doctor from the list of medicines that I was carrying. Since I was travelling, I assumed that she had developed cold due to change in climatic conditions. Within a matter of 8 hours, she was running a high- grade temperature of 104-degrees F.
I panicked and rushed her to the doctor. The doctor told me these were flu symptoms and I should have been alert. However, that doctor didn’t educate me about the Influenza vaccine. It, was only when I attended the meet that I got to know more about the vaccine. This did get me worried that it’s more than 5 years that my daughter has not been protected against influenza. However, the esteemed Dr Mukesh Gupta who is a Gynecologist/ Obstetrician and Dr UdayAnanthPai who is a Pediatrician helped us mothers understand more about Influenza in an interactive and informative session. Both doctors have rich experience in their field of expertise and guided us through the session. At the end of the meet, my worries were put to rest, thanks to the useful information shared by doctors in a session conducted in a jovial manner to keep moms at ease.
I shall share with you my learnings from the meet to help understand Influenza and take necessary precautions to protect your family from the illness.
What is Influenza?
Influenza is not a common cold. It is different. The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and lungs. It’s a very common infection with more than 10 Million cases per year in India.
Flu-like illness can be caused by many different viruses.
Symptoms of Influenza
- Fever or feeling feverish/chills
- Sore Throat
- Runny or Stuffy Nose
- Muscles or Body Aches
My learnings from the meet:
- Do not mistake flu for the common cold.
- Yearly vaccination is a necessity for the entire family and not only children.
- ‘Samuhik Vaccination’ was a term referred to by Dr Mukesh Gupta. He mentioned that Flu spreads by touching, coughing, sneezing. So, it’s best that families – parents, grandparents and even caretakers of the babies get vaccinated as any member in the family who is infected by the virus can pass it on to children in the family.
- Pai rightly pointed out that Good school may have AC, but one infected child may spread flu to others easily in absence of proper ventilation. So, any child may get influenza. Also, refrain from sending your child to school if suffering from flu-like symptoms so he doesn’t pass on the infection. Dr Mukesh Gupta added that thus the best time to get your child vaccinated is before school reopens.
- April, May, June is the best period to take influenza vaccination for children and the whole family for complete prevention against flu.
- 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 breaks out.
7. Dr Gupta stressed the importance of pregnant women to get vaccinated at the pre-conception stage to avoid complications arising out of Flu infection. He insisted that babies and pregnant women have a higher risk of influenza bouts and hence prevention is the best option and vaccination is imperative. He also mentioned that pregnant women can take the influenza vaccine at any time during their pregnancy and it is absolutely safe.
8. Moms are exposed to a lot of information from various sources like the internet, social media groups, school groups but one should always approach the doctor and ask for relevant information. It is very important to understand any illness and one should gather information from a credible source. Even celebrity mother Genelia Deshmukh who was present at the event as a panellist asserted at various times during the meet that and I quote her, ‘’All mothers must go meet your paediatricians, gynaecologist and get all questions answered about flu and staying protected with vaccination”.
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You can check
MAI Website which is a credible source for more information on Influenza- http://www.mothersagainstinfluenza.in/
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 below to Consult a Doctor
I hope after reading the post you will not be a worrier but a warrior mom armed with useful information and ready to protect your family from Influenza.
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.