Flu is endemic throughout the year in a tropical country like ours but has two peaks i. e in the monsoon months and the winter months. The symptoms include fever, cough, shivers, sniffles coupled with intense tiredness and lack of energy. These symptoms and severity of illness are worse in patients with chronic diseases like chronic lung disease, congenital heart disease, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, etc. Vaccination against the Flu can prevent these debilitating symptoms. The flu shot is easily accessible and reasonably painless.
Here are key things you should know before you take the flu shot.
The flu vaccine can be given above 6 months of age. Babies and children with ages between 6 months and 8 9 years, for the first time, will require 2 dosages to be administered not less than 4 weeks apart.
The flu vaccine is imperative to all pregnant women or new mothers. The flu shots vouchsafe absolute protection during the time of pregnancy, postpartum period or breastfeeding and don’t adversely impact the unborn baby. It enhances the mother’s immune system and the acquired immunity is automatically relayed to the baby amid the last stages of pregnancy.
The outbreaks of seasonal flu can trigger as early as June. It takes at least 2 weeks post vaccination to mount an immune response. So it is a good idea to take vaccination in the month of May before the Flu season starts.
There are individuals in whom flu vaccination is absolutely mandatory. These include children with chronic ailments like asthma, coronary problems, lung disorders, chronic kidney disorder, diabetes, immune-compromised individuals, etc.
It’s all right to get a flu shot even if you've got a mild to a moderate egg allergy. You don’t need to seek an advice from an allergist. However, if the condition is severe, it’s better to consult a doctor prior to taking the shot. People with strong allergies need to be monitored and should keep the allergy medication handy. It’s most likely that nothing will happen.
As the virus is in a dormant state within the vaccine, the shot doesn’t catch you flu. There can be minor side effects which are commonly found as with all other vaccines like a slight pain in the injected area or a mild fever which is anything but flu.
With the flu shot, a mild fever and body ache are pretty common reactions. Muscle aches or moderate fevers shouldn’t get you on the tenterhooks as these symptoms last only for a few days.
Children below six months and having specific allergic responses to the flu shots shouldn’t be administered with the vaccination. If a baby is seriously ill, you can ask the doctor to defer the shot. Children with a slight cold or a cough, however, can access it.
Must read - immunization guide for your baby.
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