After a brutal 3 months of super-hot summers, we desperately wait for the monsoon rains to hit and cool down the temperatures. But along with the rains, comes the flu season as well.
It’s quite easy to just disregard the flu season as a bout of “normal” cough or cold for a few days and brush it off. Unless it becomes very serious and lasts more than a week, we won’t even visit a doctor, feeling it might just become fine on its own.
In fact, whenever I enquired about my friend’s sickening health, some of the most common replies I’ve received include:
- I ate a couple of ice creams last week, so got a cold.
- I shampooed my hair a few days back and the wet hair made me get a cold.
- I had some cold juice at a wedding and got a sore throat.
- I drank some chilled water in a hotel and had a cough, so nothing to worry about.
However, every cough and cold should not be ignored. It could be influenza and that needs medical attention. Here are 3 important facts that can help you understand influenza better:
1.Influenza is contagious
A change in weather and increased transmission of different kinds of viruses have a significant impact on a weak immunity making us fall sick pretty quickly. Flu affects our respiratory systems resulting in chest congestion, dry cough, running nose, fever, and body aches among others.
As per CDC, Influenza is regarded as a very serious disease, which in many cases leads to complications if not treated properly at the right time.1
Fortunately, prevention of flu is very much possible, thanks to flu vaccines. Prevention of the flu by the vaccine is completely possible in most cases. In a few rare cases, a significantly controlled reduced complication is achievable with the vaccine.1
2.The flu vaccine takes two weeks to start being effective
Post two weeks of getting a flu vaccine, the body generates antibodies needed to combat the influenza virus and offer protection against them. This seasonal flu vaccine can defend against 4 types of viruses including influenza A(H1N1) virus, an influenza A(H3N2) virus, and two influenza B viruses, as per CDC.1
With the onset of the flu season, it’s ideal to get yourself vaccinated before it spreads in the community. Licensed, tested & approved vaccines for adults and kids are very much available in medical clinics and can be taken. There have been strong recommendations across the medical community, CDC and advisory committees on flu immunizations before you become infected. Do speak to your doctor for more details around the flu vaccine and understand influenza better.
3. Flu shots are annual
Immune protection provided by vaccines mostly lasts over a year and then starts declining. Additionally, with the mutation of viruses over time, vaccine compositions also get updated to combat the newer versions of the Influenza virus. So, a regular annual booster dose of the prescribed/recommended vaccines for adults and kids respectively can build protection in your family.1
Bonus fact: Vaccines are the best way to stay protected
Recently, I attended a live FB session on the importance of annual influenza vaccination by Dr Sadanand S. Shetye (neonatologist and paediatrician) and Dr Mangesh Tiwaskar (consultant physician and diabetologist).
While both of them discussed the importance of maintaining regular hygiene, covering our nose and mouth while sneezing or coughing and staying away from people in case we have the flu, they also talked about how safe the flu vaccine is.
They explained that infection from Influenza viruses increases year after year with severe complications. Vaccines are effective and provide immunity against these viruses.
So do consult your doctor regarding the flu vaccine to #FightAgainstFlu.