Dealing with runny nose and cough for our kids has become an integral part of our lives today. However, when symptoms such as fever, runny nose and other colds increase, children can move into a more dangerous area of influenza, also known as the flu.
One lakh children are infected in India alone
Influenza/flu is a highly contagious viral infection that can affect the airways and lungs of a child and is one of the most common respiratory illnesses encountered during the year. Research by John Hopkins shows that while most babies feel better within a week. At the same time, others may develop more serious infections, which may require hospital care and can lead to a lung infection (pneumonia) that can even lead to death. Studies show that in India alone about 1 lakh children under 5 years of age are hospitalized with influenza/flu every year.
Who could be at risk?
Anyone can get Influenza/Flu. However, there are special groups of individuals who are at higher risk of getting the disease, which include children aged 6 months to 5 years, pregnant women, the elderly 65 years of age and older, Health workers and persons with diseases such as diabetes, asthma, cancer, immunosuppression, etc., who require more medical attention.
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The virus is mainly spread through droplets released when people with influenza/flu cough, sneeze or talk. Therefore, being close to an infected person increases the risk of infection. Droplets released into the air can spread up to 6 feet away and reach other people nearby. Young children or people with weakened immunity may have a longer infection transmission time so they may be able to infect others for a longer period of time.
There are several antiviral (anti-influenza) drugs to treat the disease, with prevention of the disease being a major priority. Taking simple and effective preventive measures can help prevent the spread of the infection. You can do these steps-
>> Teach children to cover their mouth and nose while coughing/sneezing.
>> Wash hands thoroughly and regularly When water is not readily available, the use of sanitizer can also prove to be effective.
>> Maintain a safe distance and avoid direct contact with infected people.
>> Wear a mask especially in public places.
>> Get an annual influenza vaccination.
The annual influenza/flu vaccination is one of the most effective ways to help prevent influenza. Global and Indian health authorities recommend annual influenza vaccination for children 6 months to 5 years of age. It is known that immunity against Influenza virus decreases over time and this communicable virus strain changes every year, so as a vaccine, vaccination should be done every year. Getting vaccinated against Influenza every year not only helps in boosting your child’s immunity but also helps prevent further transmission of the infection. Consult your pediatrician for more information about influenza disease and its prevention through vaccination.
Disclaimer- Issued in the public interest by GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceuticals Ltd. of Dr. Annie Besant Road, Worli, Mumbai 400 030, India. The information shown in this content is for general awareness only. Nothing contained in this material is medical advice. Please consult your doctor if you have any medical questions or issues. Please consult your pediatrician for a complete list of vaccine-preventable diseases and a complete vaccination schedule for each disease. Please consult your pediatrician for a complete list of vaccines for disease prevention and complete immunization for each disease Please report adverse events with any GSK product to the company at [email protected]