As a mom of a 4 year old, one of the biggest worries I have is my daughter’s eating and her illness. Eating- because she is very picky and meal times tend to stretch a lot. I have always been extra cautious about her getting the right nutrition through her diet. The second worry has been her health. From the time she started schooling, she has had more bouts of cold, mild fever, cough as compared to the days prior to her schooling.
While I take utmost care when it comes to her nutrition, cleanliness of the environment in which she lives, there are things over which I have little control. Schools are breeding grounds for infections; many kids tend to not miss school despite being ill. Children have a higher chance of contracting diseases such as flu as their immune systems are not as developed as adults.
Influenza, which we commonly recognise as the flu, a contagious respiratory illness can be quite a nightmare for a child as well as the parent.
Every year, millions of people get the flu. The good news is that the seasonal flu vaccine can lower the risk of getting the flu by about half. Getting the yearly flu vaccine is the best way to protect yourself from the flu.
Its symptoms are sore throat, cough, running nose, fever, body aches, fatigue. It may also result in death of the patient. Pregnant women and young kids, especially those below the age of 5 are at higher risk of contracting influenza. As parents, we are usually under the impression that a one-time vaccination helps in preventing our kids from contracting illnesses. However in the case of influenza, as I learnt, it’s a different story.
The virus causing influenza are continually changing over time, and this enables the virus to invade the immune system of the child who has been vaccinated or caught the illness in the past, thus making him/her susceptible to the illness at any time again during their life. Hence its absolutely essential to take the influenza vaccination every year as new variants of the vaccine are developed to combat the virus. When a kid is vaccinated, the immune system produces antibodies to protect him/her from the viruses included in the vaccine. Also antibody levels may decline over time, hence another reason to get a flu shot every year.
Here are a few pointers which I always follow as a Mom when it comes to protecting my child from flu:
- Ensure my kid gets the right nutrition through food, she eats balanced meals and gets good sleep. It’s important to be healthy and combat illnesses naturally.
- In case my daughter is ill, I do not send her to school or out to play. Many of the illnesses that young kids contract are contagious and by letting our sick kids come in contact with other kids who have not been infected, we are putting them at risk.
- Get my daughter vaccinated for influenza every year.
- In case she is infected (as no vaccine can guarantee 100% immunity against flu), make sure she gets complete rest, drinks lots of fluids, eats light food that can be easily digested and takes the medication as prescribed by her paediatrician.
When we were young, I recall how we would be infected by bouts of chicken pox, measles, flu and my mother would spend many sleepless nights in tending to us. Thankfully our situation as parents is far better with the availability of vaccines. So let’s make the most of it and do our bit in keeping our kids healthy and happy.
#IPromiseToStopFlu for my child. You?
You can take the #IPromiseToStopFlu pledge here.
Information sources used- https://www.vaccines.gov/diseases/flu
Image courtesy- TheHindu.com