It’s the month of March, the exam season. And in amidst of all exam preparations, revisions, time table, one fine morning your child wakes up and… Achoo!!!
Runny nose, Sore throat, Body aches, Watery eyes; the classic sign of sickness. You check her temperature; it’s high.
Well, it’s just a common cold; or wait! Maybe flu?
And if it’s a flu, then what should you do?
Examination and sickness are every parent’s biggest nightmare. But what they often forget is, exam season also comes with cold and flu season, which means schools, classrooms, and day-care facilities will soon be filled with sick children.
Sneeze !! Clear nose!! Sneeze again!!
So how do you keep your children safe this flu season? How do you find out if its a common cold or flu? Should you seek medical help? If yes, when?
Well, we are here to tell you all that you need to know about seasonal flu.
What is the seasonal flu?
Seasonal flu, also called seasonal influenza, is an illness caused by an influenza virus infecting the respiratory tract. It’s contagious, but the spread of the virus usually occurs during a particular time of the year, hence the name. The intensity of the illness can range from mild to severe, but there have been cases of complications caused by influenza.
Flu can affect anyone, elderly, pregnant women, children, and people with already existing health complications. People with asthma and weak immune systems are always at a higher risk of contracting the virus. These are the vulnerable amongst all to be frequently affected by the change.
How does the flu virus spread?
According to experts the virus mainly spreads from person to person. Poor hygiene and personal habits are the main culprit in spreading the flu. Droplets that are released when an infected person talks, coughs or sneezes can infect a non-infected person.
The virus can also spread through indirect contact when a person touches a surface- like a railing, bus handle or school desk- that already has flu virus on it and this gets transferred to them when they invariably touch their nose, mouth or eyes.
Someone affected by flu is most contagious in the first 3-4 days after the start of their illness. Even if one hasn’t displayed any symptoms or don’t even know of their sickness, they can still spread the virus, so be aware!
What are the symptoms of seasonal flu?
People suffering from flu usually experience some or all of these symptoms: cough, sore throat, fever, body ache, overall fatigue, and a runny or stuffy nose.
We often confuse between a common cold and flu. The difference lies in the intensity of the symptoms. Influenza has severe symptoms and lasts longer than a common cold. Flu can lead to associated health complications like ear infections and pneumonia too.
How do I prevent seasonal flu?
There are quite a few steps you can follow as a precautionary measure against the flu.
- Get vaccinated
You can avoid getting seasonal flu with timely vaccinations. The World Health Organisation and Indian Government’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare recommend vaccine to be administered in preparation for oncoming bouts of seasonal flu. A yearly vaccination can help to prevent seasonal flu and is especially crucial for people who are at a greater risk of exposure.
- Avoid close contact with infected people
This goes out to everyone be it toddlers in the park, students at schools, working professionals and elderly with compromised immunity. All of us are exposed to these viruses and at the risk of being infected
SIf someone is suffering from flu it’s best for youto avoid close contact with them.
And if you are the one suffering from it, it is always advisable to take a break from work or school so that there are less chances of spreading the infection.
- Cover your mouth and don’t touch your face
Since you possibly can’t go around asking people if they have the flu, the next best idea is to cover your mouth with a mask when in public. This’ll also serve to protect you from other viruses, dust, and pollution in the air. It is best advised to use disposable napkins while sneezing and coughing. Wash your hands frequently or always keep a sanitizer handy.
What do I do if I think I have the flu?
Consult a doctor if you notice flu symptoms- it’s always better to be safe than sorry!
Don’t give in to speculations and worries, get a consultation done to diagnose your symptoms. It is always recommended not to self-medicate as it may worsen your symptoms further. Follow the prescription as advised. Along with getting medical attention, ensure your body is hydrated by drinking a lot of fluids. Tender coconut or soup is advised to prevent dehydration. Rest well to overcome fatigue and headaches.
Seasonal flu can make anyone miserable. So, if you are suffering from flu or know someone who is, ensure you take the required steps and stay healthy. Also, you can now call a doctor home! Be it a consultation or the need for a flu shot; we are here to bring it at your doorstep. And that’s not it, we can also help you with any lab tests if required.