Changing Seasons and Influenza – How Annual Flu Vaccination Helps!

As soon as monsoon or winter arrives, somebody in the family may catch the flu, which could rapidly spread to the entire family! When down with the flu, you may show symptoms like headaches, body or muscle aches, uncontrollable sneezes, stuffy nose, sore throat, fever, fatigue, vomiting or diarrhoea, lasting 5-7 days.

When your child catches the flu, they may miss school, fun activities, and celebrations, and as adults, we miss out on work and family time.  

Read below to know more.

Why Do People Get Sick When the Seasons Change?

A shift in temperature permits different groups of viruses to flourish, and these viruses account for sickness. Rhinovirus, influenza virus, and adenovirus are the primary agents responsible for the common cold and flu activated during the spring and fall seasons.

Also, individuals with seasonal allergies often feel congested and develop a runny nose and itchy eyes, especially during the spring, due to pollens in the air. The flu virus also replicates and spreads faster when the air is cool and dry. That is why most people contract flu and cold in monsoons and winters.

What Is Seasonal Flu? How Does Flu Virus Spread?

Flu is an infectious respiratory illness caused by the Influenza A or B viruses which could be swine flu (H1N1) that can infect the child’s throat, nose, and lungs. It is highly transmissible as it spreads by inhaling air droplets containing flu viruses, coming in contact with the infected person, or touching contaminated surfaces.

What Are the Complications of Flu?

A person infected with seasonal flu may develop serious complications, such as secondary bacterial infection, pneumonia, bronchitis, and encephalitis. It can also worsen existing medical conditions

Flu episodes may cause multiple complications leading to hospitalisation and sometimes death in severe cases.

Who Is at the Risk of Developing Serious Complications?

Flu may affect all age groups. However, certain people may develop serious complications after contracting the flu. These include:

Sr. No.

High-Risk Groups

Probable Risk of Hospitalisation

1.

All children below 5 years

~7X

2.

Pregnant Women

~7X (~4X risk of stillbirth)

3.

Senior Citizens above 65 years

~3X

4.

Asthma Patients

~4X

5.

Diabetic Patients

~4X

Immuno-compromised people and individuals with long-term medical conditions, such as blood disorders, heart disease, liver disease, etc., are also at risk.

How Can You Prevent the Flu Disease?

Health experts suggest that one of the most reliable ways to prevent the flu is by taking an annual flu shot based on your doctor’s consultation. There are a few hygiene practices to avoid contracting the flu apart from vaccination, such as:

  • Avoid contact with sick people and maintain social distancing
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or use a sanitiser.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or sleeve while coughing or sneezing
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • If you have contracted flu, stay home for at least 24 hours until your fever has subsided.

Why Is It Important to Take Flu Vaccination?

Health experts recommend flu vaccination annually so the protection against the virus remains throughout the season. It could also benefit pregnant women and their infants until they are ready for the flu vaccination.

How Frequently Should One Take the Flu Shot?

New flu strains may circulate in the environment every season, and based on the circulating strains, the flu vaccine is manufactured annually. The flu shot’s immunity lasts for the season; hence annual vaccination is recommended to stay protected against the flu. For any further information, please consult your doctor.

When and Where Can You Get the Annual Flu Shot?

Flu disease is at its peak during the monsoon and winters, and that is why health experts recommend a flu shot could be taken before the season begins. Consult your doctor for more information.

Are There Any Side Effects of the Vaccination?

Flu vaccination is generally well-tolerated. However, some commonly observed side effects of this vaccination are:

  • Soreness or redness at the injection site
  • Mild fever and nausea
  • Fatigue

Flu may be prevented by following hygiene practices and timely vaccination. Please consult your doctor for more information. To know further, visit MyVaccinationHub.

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References:

https://ncdc.gov.in/showfile.php?lid=405
https://ncdc.gov.in/showfile.php?lid=295
https://www.immunize.org/catg.d/p4208.pdf
https://www.who.int/news/item/25-02-2022-recommendations-announced-for-Flu-vaccine-composition-for-the-2022-2023-northern-hemisphere-Flu-season
https://www.cdc.gov/Flu/prevent/Flushot.htm
https://portal.ct.gov/DPH/Immunizations/Seasonal-Flu
124587-IAP-GUIDE-BOOK-ON-IMMUNIZATION-18-19.pdf (iapindia.org)

Disclaimer: Issued in public interest by GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceuticals Limited. Dr. Annie Besant Road, Worli, Mumbai 400 030, India.

Information appearing in this material is for general awareness only. Nothing contained in this material constitutes medical advice. Please consult your doctor for any medical queries, any question or concern you may have regarding your condition. The disease list indicated for vaccination is not complete, please consult your doctor for the complete vaccination schedule.

NP-IN-FLT-OGM-2200035, DoP Oct 2022

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