As educated and informed parents, we want to be diligent about matters that concern our kids. But sometimes, due to lack of enough authentic information we tend to take some calls that cost us, rather our kids dearly. One such area of concern is their health. I have been extremely careful about my kids’ vaccinations throughout. So much so that I almost memorized their vaccination schedules and always took an appointment well in advance to not miss any deadline. In line with the vaccination calendar, I also got my kids administered with the Influenza (commonly known as ‘Flu’) vaccination in the first year itself. But I was in for a shock when my elder one suffered from flu in the middle of his playschool session when he was just about 2 years. No, missing the studies part wasn’t that difficult for his age, but dealing with the ailment while he brooded about missing his play time at school was.
On my subsequent visit to the pediatrician, I had loads of queries as to why he got infected by Flu even when he was vaccinated for the same last year. What follows in this write up is a summary of some important things that every parent must know about Influenza in Children.
Influenza is different from Upper Respiratory Tract Infections (URTIs)
It is an air-borne viral infection, different from common cold, cough and sneezing or any other form of URTIs which are normally bacterial infections. Thus administering any antibiotics is of no use.
Major symptoms of Influenza are –
- Sudden fever
- Chills and shakes
- Muscle aches
- Dry cough, sore throat
- Loss of appetite
Influenza in children may not show all the above-mentioned symptoms. But high fever, febrile seizures, body ache and loss of appetite are some prominent symptoms of Influenza in kids.[i]
Influenza Virus is an ever-changing virus
Influenza is a virus that changes its shape frequently. That answered my question about why my kid suffer from ‘flu’despite having given the vaccination against it. Actually, because it changes its form very frequently, the vaccination already administered is not able to recognize the virus and the anti-bodies are incapable of doing their job. To handle this situation, it is best if the vaccination is administered every year.
What should you do if your child has the flu?
Influenza is an air-borne infection; thus, your child should be quarantined inhouse for atleast 5-7 days or up to 2 weeks. Inability to do so, will have several repercussions. One is that other children become high on risk of getting infected. Secondly, your kid is very weak due to the infection. If enough rest is not taken, it may cause prolonged weakness. That will weigh adversely on his performance even if he starts going to school. Given enough rest to the child, with sufficient liquid intake and a balanced nutritious diet to expedite the recovery.
Children upto the age of five years are most susceptible to this viral infection. Thus, get them vaccinated at proper intervals to avoid contamination with the virus.[iii]
When protection for your child is available in the form of a vaccine, it is recommended you use it to prevent occurrences of the flue.
#IPromiseToStopFlu for my child. You?