A few years ago, I was sitting on my balcony enjoying the breezy winds. My son, who was 4 years old then, was sitting beside me playing with his wooden animals and balance board. Pretend plays are often fun, as every time there’s some new story being narrated. While I was hearing his new story, I suddenly started to have a runny nose and felt fatigued. Later that night, a severe headache took over.
The next morning, I decided to visit my doctor.
Seasonal changes are always beautiful more so the transition from scorching summer months to the cooler months. But along with it, comes a lot of health risks. During the change in season, our body re-adapts itself to the changes in the climate and this is the time when we are susceptible to infections. It is the time when we are more vulnerable to catching the flu, as Influenza viruses thrive in the cooler months and spread contagious diseases.4
What is Influenza/Flu?
Influenza [flu] is a respiratory infection, caused by the influenza virus. It is contagious and infects the throat, nose, and at times even lungs. Mostly the infection is mild, but with multiple prevailing health conditions, it could be severe or lead to complications.1
Yes, I was aware of this fact, but what I was not aware of was “the ever-changing strains.” My doctor shared that influenza (flu) viruses are constantly changing, via mutations or a “shift” that results in a new flu virus.
Now, since the weather has been changing and the world is getting back to normal with children going back to schools and people going back to offices, we need to be aware of flu symptoms, and prevention.
What are the symptoms of flu in children and adults?
I recently attended a live session conducted by Dr. Sadanand and Dr. Mangesh where I learnt some interesting things about the flu in children and adults.
Like, as how we often get confused between “common cold” and “flu.” The doctors shared that flu is a specific and serious respiratory infection. One can have all/some of the following symptoms:2
- Runny nose
- Headache and body ache
- Chills and feeling feverish
- Sudden fatigue
- Sore throat
It spreads by tiny droplets, when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks, without covering their mouth or by touch.2
What is the best way to protect yourself from the influenza virus?
I got to know that the best way to #FightAgainstFlu and keep yourself protected against it was to get vaccinated.3 During the live, the doctors shared that the rates of infection of seasonal influenza were highest among people 65 years and older, people with certain chronic medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, or heart disease), pregnant people, and children younger than 5 years, but especially those younger than 2 years old.2
Oh yes! My son was getting his yearly flu vaccines, but I was missing mine from the past few years. Flu infects children and adults, hence, my doctor recommended that everyone, right from 6 months old should get flu vaccine shots every year.3 Of course, do check with your doctor while getting any vaccination/medication basis your health conditions.
Flu shots are usually made with inactivated viruses and 2 weeks after vaccination, they cause antibodies to develop in the body. These antibodies then protect against the seasonal influenza viruses. Hence, getting oneself vaccinated is important.5
Now that I’ve shared the important information about the Influenza [flu] virus, do discuss it with your doctor regarding a flu shot for yourself and your loved ones. I’ve got my shot this year, and I’m ensuring that my family stays well-protected every year, so that we can enjoy the cool breezes with hot chocolate, building our imaginative stories.
References:  https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/index.html  https://www.cdc.gov/flu/symptoms/symptoms.htm  https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/flu/in-depth/flu-shots/art-20048000#  https://www.healthshots.com/preventive-care/self-care/side-effects-of-season-change-on-health-and-tips-to-handle-it/  https://www.cdc.gov/flu/prevent/keyfacts.htm