Share On

More about Flu and ITS Prevention

infection

Cause

Flu (or Influenza) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and sometimes the lungs

impact

Impact

Up to 10% of adults & Up to 30% of children are infected by flu every year worldwide. Flu leads to
~1 Crore out-patient visits &
~1 Lakh hospitalizations in children under 5 years of age every year in India.

prevention

Prevention

Vaccination along with taking everyday preventive actions to stop the spread of germs can help to prevent the flu.

cake

Age of vaccination

Flu vaccine can be taken by infants & children aged 6 months and older. Consult your doctor for more information on Flu Vaccination.

What is Flu?

lungs

Flu (or Influenza) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and sometimes the lungs. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death.

Is flu different from a cold?

brain

Flu is different from a cold. It is caused by a different group of viruses. In general, flu is worse than the common cold and symptoms are more common and intense. Colds generally do not result in serious health problems, such as pneumonia, bacterial infections, or hospitalizations. Flu can have very serious associated complications and can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death.

The majority of seasonal influenza is caused by four influenza strains A and B called Influenza A(H1N1), Influenza A(H3N2), Influenza B/Yamagata and Influenza B/Victoria viruses.

Who is at risk?

human-body

Flu can affect anyone, but certain groups are more at risk than others

  • Pregnant women
  • Children under 5 years of age
  • Older adults (aged more than 65 years)
  • Individual with chronic medical conditions such as diabetes, cancer, chronic cardiac disorders, pulmonary, renal, metabolic, neurodevelopmental, liver or hematologic diseases
  • Health care workers and caregivers

What are the symptoms of Flu?

lungs

Flu can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. Flu usually comes on suddenly. People who are sick with flu often feel some or all of these symptoms:

  • Coughing
  • Fatigue/Feeling unwell
  • Headache
  • Muscle & joint pain
  • Sore Throat
  • Runny nose
  • High Fever or cold chills

How does the Flu spread?

ear

Seasonal flu (influenza) spreads easily, with rapid transmission in crowded areas including schools and nursing homes. When an infected person coughs or sneezes, droplets containing viruses (infectious droplets) are dispersed into the air and can spread up to 1 meter, and infect persons in close proximity who breathe these droplets in. The virus can also be spread by hands contaminated with influenza viruses. To prevent transmission, people should cover their mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing, and wash their hands regularly.

How can I help protect my child from Flu?

prevention

Everyday preventive actions like avoiding contact with sick people, covering your nose & mouth while sneezing or coughing can prevent the spread of flu virus.

One of the most effective ways to prevent flu is vaccination. Flu vaccines are generally effective and well tolerated and have been used for more than 60 years. Therefore, most global and national health authorities recommend annual vaccination before the start of every influenza season owing to the changing virus strains in circulation and waning of immunity after circulation.
Flu Vaccination can be taken by infants & children above 6 months of age. For more information, consult your Pediatrician.

Common myths about Flu

Isn’t flu just like a bad cold?
No. Flu is more than just a bad cold, it is caused by a different group of viruses. Symptoms of flu tend to be much more severe and last for longer. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death.

If I got the flu vaccine or the flu last year, I can’t catch it again this year. Is this true?
That’s not true. The viruses that cause flu change every year and your body’s immune response declines over time. So the flu vaccine has to be reformulated every year as well to stay ahead of the changing flu viruses and you need to get vaccinated with the new vaccine every year.

Does the flu vaccine work?
Flu vaccine does work. How well it works can change from year to year, however vaccination is still the most effective method to help prevent flu or reduce the severity of flu, as recommended by important health organizations.

Can a flu vaccine give you the flu?
No, flu vaccines cannot cause flu illness. The viruses used in the flu vaccine has been treated, so they are not active. This means they’re not infectious and can’t make you ill.

Why do some people not feel well after getting the seasonal flu vaccine?
The most common reaction after flu vaccination is pain or swelling at the injection site. Other reactions can include a mild fever or muscle aches. Sometimes these reactions can be mistaken for the flu, but they aren’t and they usually disappear without any treatment.

Does the flu vaccine prevent COVID-19?
Flu vaccines will not prevent COVID-19, but they will reduce the burden of flu illnesses, hospitalizations and deaths on the health care system and conserve scarce medical resources for the care of people with COVID-19.

References:
1. US CDC. Key facts about influenza. 2019. Available at https://www.cdc.gov/flu/keyfacts.htm. Last assessed January 2019.
2. US CDC. Cold Versus Flu. 2019. Available at https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/qa/coldflu.htm. Last assessed January 2019.
3. WHO. Fact sheet influenza (seasonal). 2018. Available at: http://www.who.int/en/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/influenza-(seasonal). Last accessed January 2019.
4. US CDC, People at High Risk of Developing Serious Flu–Related Complications 2109. Available at https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/disease/high_risk.htm. Last assessed January 2019. Last assessed January 2019.
5. Jin XW, Mossad Cleve Clin J Med. 2012;79: 777–784.
6. US CDC. Prevention and control of seasonal influenza with vaccines. Recommendations of the advisory committee on immunization practices – United States, 2016–2017. MMWR Recomm Rep. 2016;65: 1–54. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/65/rr/pdfs/rr6505.pdf Last accessed January 2019.
7. WHO. Vaccines against influenza WHO position paper – November 2012. Weekly Epidemiol Rec. 2012;47:461–476.
8. Heikkinen T et al. Pediatr Infect Dis J 2013;32:881–888.
9. US CDC. Key Facts About Seasonal Flu Vaccine. 2018. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/keyfacts.htm. Last accessed January 2019.
10. US CDC. What are the benefits of flu vaccination. 2019. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/prevent/vaccine-benefits.htm. Last assessed January 2019.
11. US CDC. Flu vaccine safety information. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/vaccine/general.htm#side-effects. Last assessed January 2019.
12. US CDC. Misconceptions about Seasonal Flu and Flu Vaccines. 2019. https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/qa/misconceptions.htm. Last assessed February 2019.
13. Levitt A. The Cost Of Getting The Flu. Available at: https://www.investopedia.com/financial-edge/1012/the-cost-of-getting-the-flu.aspx. Last accessed: September 4, 2018.
14 US CDC. Flu prevention Available at https://www.cdc.gov/flu/prevent/prevention.htm Last assessed November 2020.
15. Purakayastha, DR et al. Estimation of Burden of Influenza among under-Five Children in India: A Meta-Analysis Journal of Tropical Pediatrics, 2018, 64, 441–453 doi: 10.1093/tropej/fmx087

Share On