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What Parents Need to Know about Influenza #IPromiseToStopFlu


November 1, 2019 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ Health and Wellness


What Parents Need to Know about Influenza #IPromiseToStopFlu | Baby & Beyond

Winter is here and at this time every year our paediatrician makes it a point to remind us about getting our flu vaccines. 2 years ago when N was barely one and was just starting daycare, one of the things I was most worried about was his immunity and whether I was putting his health at risk by exposing him at such a young age. I am sure every preschool mom can relate to this. I had heard so many parents say this – “ever since my child started school, she’s been coming home with a runny nose almost every other week.” To top it off, we had had a big swine flu scare in our family and as could be expected, I was one paranoid parent.

What Parents Need to Know about Influenza #IPromiseToStopFlu | Baby & Beyond

I remember going to my paediatrician with a list of questions and she was more than patient in answering each one and alleviating my concerns. My first misconception was that influenza is the same as a common cold. The paediatrician explained that though influenza and common cold have similar symptoms, the two are not the same. A common cold is usually milder, whereas influenza may result in more serious complications. Hence it is important to understand the symptoms and be able to recognize the difference. A child suffering from common cold will have a runny or stuffy nose, while the common symptoms of influenza are sudden high fever that does not come down even after 24 hours, sore throat, body aches and tiredness [1].  

Now you must be wondering why I said that our paediatrician insists on getting the flu vaccine every year. I was curious about it too. What she explained is that immunity from vaccination wanes over time. Also there are several different viruses that can cause influenza and they are constantly changing. Each year, the flu vaccine is developed to protect against the three or four viruses that WHO research suggests will be the most common that year [1]. For example, H1N1 or swine flu is one of the strains covered in the seasonal flu vaccine [2]. Hence it is important to give our children a flu shot annually to ensure that their body develops immunity to the most recent strains of the virus.

Moreover, vaccines can take 10-14 days to develop immunity in the body [2] so Oct to Feb is an ideal period for children to take the influenza vaccination.

So now we get our son vaccinated annually and along with the vaccine it is necessary to take key steps like washing his hands, covering his nose and mouth while sneezing or coughing and maintaining good hygiene.  

#IPromiseToStopFlu for my child. You?


Sources:

1. https://www.who.int/en/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/influenza-(seasonal)2.

2.https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/viruses/types.htm

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