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Getting The Flu Vaccine - Why It's Important

Dr. Col V C Goyal 92% (9548 ratings)
CCEBDM, PG Diploma In Clinical Cardiology, MBBS
General Physician, Ghaziabad
Getting The Flu Vaccine - Why It's Important

There are a variety of reasons why a person can fall sick. A good number of these illnesses cannot be prevented though a person may take general precautions. Having said that, in the case of influenza, it can be prevented to a large extent and it does not seem all that smart to avoid taking easy precautions when one has an option, right?

Every year, thousands of people die from influenza, which is so unfortunate because an annual shot can reduce that number by almost 60 percent. So what exactly makes a flu shot or vaccine work? As a result of the vaccine, after about two weeks or so, antibodies begin to develop in the body. These antibodies help fight off infection, specifically the kind that is targeted by the vaccine. It is important to get vaccinated for this flu on an annual basis.

Choosing the right flu shot
Considering the great number of options there are when it comes to flu vaccines, which are the ones to be injected? It is a good idea to get the opinion of a doctor to see which one to choose. This is because the choice is dependent on a variety of factors, which a medical professional would be able to assess appropriately. Note that it is important not to use the nasal spray version of the vaccine as the medical authorities have recently found that it is not as effective a method as it once was.

When should you get it?
Flu season does vary across the world, but in the US, it starts in about October and goes on till May. During this time, the flu viruses are a lot more active. When one gets a flu shot, it is this period that one needs to look out for. So, it is better to get vaccinated in late September or the start of October, so that there is minimal unprotected exposure to the viruses.

Who is it for?
It is to be kept in mind that every individual who is older than six months should be vaccinated. While it is said that getting a vaccine shot year after year reduces its effectiveness, it is still important to do so. This is because each year, the shot is altered to reflect the biggest virus threats in that year. There might be few side effects of the flu vaccine such as redness in the injected area, soreness or swelling. However, as long as one gets a flu shot in time, it is almost a given that there will be almost no time spent ‘down with the flu’.

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Stomach Flu Symptoms

Dt. Neha Suryawanshi 97% (13244 ratings)
M.Sc. in Dietetics and Food Service Management , Post Graduate Diploma In Computer Application, P.G.Diploma in Clinical Nutrition & Dietetics , B.Sc.Clinical Nutrition & Dietetics
Dietitian/Nutritionist, Mumbai
Stomach Flu Symptoms

Stomach Flu Symptoms

Flu Shot - Are There Any Side Effects Of It?

Dr. (Lt Col) Dinesh Kumar 89% (2418 ratings)
General Physician, Greater Noida
Flu Shot - Are There Any Side Effects Of It?

Flu is caused by a virus known as influenza and is a common respiratory disease. It is typically caused from the month of October to May. Some of the common symptoms include fatigue, runny nose, fever, cough, muscle ache, sore throat, body ache, etc. 

The flu vaccination helps to protect from influenza. The effect generally lasts for a year. It is recommended that an individual takes this vaccination once in a year since the strain of the virus keeps changing every year. Flu vaccine comprises of an egg-based technology.

Who Can catch flu?
Anyone can get a flu vaccination. Children above the age of 6 months or more are eligible to get a flu vaccination. In addition, the person who has a severe outbreak of allergic reaction due to the flu vaccination should also stay away from this. 

Pregnant women can also get this vaccination without any worry about the baby. They not only safeguard the mother, but protect the child from influenza too. Adults who are more than 65 years old can take this vaccination without worrying. Patients with an acute allergy should consult their doctors before taking a flu shot.

Are there any side effects?

Although most people do not feel a thing after the flu shot, some might experience mild symptoms, such as redness of the area where the vaccine has been injected, mild body aches, soreness, redness and fever. Other serious side effects include allergic reaction resulting in soreness and very high fever. A doctor or healthcare personnel should be immediately contacted in such an instance. 

Can flu shot cause flu?
This is totally a myth. A flu vaccine doesn’t result in the flu. The virus content of the flu vaccine doesn’t contain any live virus that can potentially trigger an outbreak of flu in the body. They are noninfectious in every sense of the word. It takes a couple of weeks for the flu vaccine to build immunity in the body. A person might get affected during this time if he comes in contact with an infected person.

Confusing flu with similar symptoms:
Common symptoms of flu such as nausea, vomiting, sneezing, body ache and fever can be symptoms of an entirely different disease such as diarrhoea. Until the tests are conducted and the doctor gives an assured verdict of flu, it is unwise to take a flu vaccination based on gut feel and mere speculation. 

When is an ideal time to take flu vaccine?
There is no right or wrong time of taking a flu shot. It is seriously infectious and can catch hold of a person at any time. The right time to take a flu shot is now. It is readily available over the counter and can be injected at any time of the year.

Taking Inactivated Influenza Vaccine - Is It Beneficial?

Dr. Ashish Kale 84% (95 ratings)
MD - Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Diploma In Endopelvic Surgery, FICS
Gynaecologist, Pune
Taking Inactivated Influenza Vaccine - Is It Beneficial?

During pregnancy, flu (influenza) can impose serious health implications for both the mother and the child. Due to pregnancy, the risk of developing complications like pneumonia are very high, which can pose as a problem during childbirth. Miscarriage, low birth weight, premature birth are some of the major issues, which might develop if the mother has suffered from flu during her pregnancy. Although flu vaccination during pregnancy has certain risks, it has been observed that in most cases the benefits of inactivated influenza vaccine outweigh the risks. However, Live attenuated influenza vaccine is not recommended at all during pregnancy.

Recommendations across the world suggest that prevention of influenza by administration of inactivated influenza vaccine is the best intervention in pregnancy. The vaccine for Flushould be administered before the onset of flu season. RANZCOG, NHS UK, RCOG, FOGSI recommends inactivated flu vaccine for all the pregnant women unless there are any contraindications. 

Taking inactivated influenza vaccine can be beneficial in multiple ways:

1. Prevents maternal complications: During pregnancy, the heart and lungs go through extra stress. Pregnancy can also severely impact your immune system. Opting for a inactivated flu vaccine can decrease significantly, the chance of falling severely ill due to flu.

2. Prevents pregnancy problems due to flu: Getting infected by flu during pregnancy can increase the chance of miscarriage during childbirth. Administering inactivated flu shots can prevent miscarriage as well as premature birth and low birth weight.

3. Protects the baby after birth: Infants have a huge risk of getting infected with flu after birth. But as vaccines cannot be administered to them until they are 6 months old, it is the best recourse to opt for inactivated flu shots during pregnancy as the antibodies pass onto the child from the mother via placenta. The child can hence be protected from such diseases.

Some concerns
Often, one fear about the vaccine, is the development of Gullain Barre syndrome. This is very rare and the risk of GBS are higher following influenza like illness. Also, if the patient is allergic to eggs they are advised to consult a physician. Flu vaccines have traces of egg protein in it. Certain precautions are taken after studying the patient's medical history. The doctor may keep the patient under observation. Or in certain instances the physician might suggest alternative flu vaccine, which do not contain egg protein. Physicians decide it after studying any prior allergic reaction.

As per  the WHO SAGE position paper, from 1990 to 2009 the vaccine adverse event reporting system database in USA reported only 20 serious adverse events following administration of trivalent influenza vaccine to an estimated 11.8 million pregnant women. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!


2459 people found this helpful

Seasonal Flu - How To Cure It?

Dr. Rajiva Gupta 91% (4380 ratings)
MBBS, MD - Internal Medicine, Post Graduate Program in Diabetology
General Physician, Delhi
Seasonal Flu - How To Cure It?

Having a fever makes you feel weak such that you don’t feel like doing anything. Medical treatment for flu includes usage of antiviral drugs as prescribed for decreasing the severity and duration of the infection. You may also consult your doctor to know about the antibiotics that can treat bacterial infections which may arise as an effect of flu. However, antibiotics are not always required for treating viral infections like flu. On the contrary, you can also follow a few home remedies to get rid of your suffering.

Home remedies for treating flu
You can treat flu by following a few home remedies like resting in bed and avoiding physical exertion. Hydration is very important and minor pains and aches can be relieved with over-the-counter medications as prescribed by the physician. You should avoid spreading the flu virus and germs and wash your hands often.

  • Stay hydrated: You should drink ample amount of water, clear soup and fruit juices. Though flu causes appetite loss, you should not depend on water entirely, as it doesn’t contain enough amount of electrolytes that are required for your body to function optimally. Energy drinks can also help you in this respect. In case these products are not available, you can also prepare a homemade solution by mixing plain or rice water with sugar and a pinch of salt. You can also enhance the taste by adding orange juice and freshly cut bananas, and you can drink it right away irrespective of your age.
  • Getting rid of coughThough expectorants and cough suppressants would help the cough to subside, steam inhalations can also prove to be useful for opening a blocked nose. To create steam, pour water in a pot and heat it. After removing the pot from the stove, cover your head with the towel and inhale the steam. The water should be hot, but not boiling, and you can also add eucalyptus oil and few slices of ginger to the hot water. Another way is to steam up your bathroom by allowing the shower to run with hot water and inhale the moisture from the steamy room. You should refrain from touching hard surfaces where the viruses would remain alive. Sneeze and cough into a soft tissue or a handkerchief and carefully dispose of the tissues once they are used. If possible, stay away from people who have flu.

With these simple homemade tips, you would be able to control the symptoms of flu. But in case it does not subside, you shall have to seek medical assistance.

Symptoms Of Swine Flu - स्वाइन फ्लू के लक्षण

Dr. Sanjeev Kumar Singh 89% (52 ratings)
Bachelor of Ayurveda, Medicine and Surgery (BAMS)
Ayurveda, Lakhimpur Kheri
Symptoms Of Swine Flu - स्वाइन फ्लू के लक्षण

साल 2009 में स्वाइन फ्लू एक महामारी के रूप में आया था, लेकिन इसे आज बस एक आम तरह का फ्लू वायरस माना जाता है. हर साल टीकाकरण करके स्वाइन फ्लू को रोका जा सकता है. स्वाइन फ्लू के लक्षण और उपचार, एक अन्य सामान्य फ्लू वायरस के जैसे ही होते हैं और अन्य सामान्य फ्लू वायरस के जैसे ही फैलते हैं. स्वाइन फ्लू को H1N1 फ्लू भी कहते हैं क्योंकि यह H1N1 वायरस से होता है. सामान्य फ्लू और स्वाइन फ्लू के लक्षण एक समान ही होते हैं. इस वायरस की शुरुआत सूअर से होती है जिसके बाद यह एक इंसान से दूसरे इंसान में फैलता है. जब 2009 में स्वाइन फ्लू वायरस को इंसान में पाया गया तब इस वायरस ने एक महामारी का रूप ले लिया था. अगस्त 2010 में विश्व स्वास्थ्य संगठन ने स्वाइन फ्लू महामारी को खत्म धोषित कर दिया था. तब से H1N1 वायरस को एक सामान्य फ्लू वायरस की तरह ही माना जाता है. H1N1 वायरस अन्य फ्लू वायरस के जेसै ही संक्रमित होता है.
2009-10 का महामारी स्वाइन फ्लू अप्रैल 2009 में इस वायरस की पहचान सबसे पहले मैक्सिको में की गई और ये स्वाइन फ्लू के नाम से जाना गया क्योंकि ये सुअर को प्रभावित करने वाले फ्लू वायरस के समान ही था. ये वायरस तेज़ी से एक देश से दूसर देश में फैलता गया क्योंकि ये एक नये किस्म का फ्लू वायरस था क्योंकि युवकों की प्रतिरक्षा प्रणाली इससे लड़ने में सक्षम नहीं थी और कई युवक इसकी चपेट में आए. वर्तमान में स्वाइन फ्लू का प्रकोप H1N1 A वायरस अब मौसम-आधारित वायरस हो गया है जो कि हर सर्दी के मौसम में फैलते हैं. इसलिए आइए स्वाइन फ्लू के लक्षणों को जानें.
स्वाइन फ्लू के लक्षण
स्वाइन फ्लू के लक्षण स्वाइन फ्लू के शुरूआती लक्षण का पता एक से चार दिन में लग पाता है. इस वायरस से संपर्क में आने के बाद वायरस की ऊष्मायन अवधि लगभग एक से चार दिन होती है, और औसतन दो दिन. इसके लक्षण एक से दो सप्ताह तक बने रहते हैं और अगर कोई व्यक्ति गंभीर रुप से संक्रमित है तो इसकी अवधि बढ़ भी सकती है. स्वाइन फ्लू के लक्षण कई अन्य प्रकार के इन्फ्लूएंजा वायरस के जैसे ही होते है. इसमें यह लक्षण देखने को मिलते हैं –
बुखार (100F या इससे अधिक). खांसी (आम तौर पर सूखी खाँसी).
1. स्वाइन फ्लू के लक्षणों में नाक का बहना बहना प्रमुख है. हलांकि नाक बहना एक सामन्य समस्या है. मामूली जुकाम में भी आपका ना बहता है. लेकिन यदि ये स्वाइन फ्लू के कारण होता है तो. जांच कराएं.
2. स्वाइन फ्लू के मरीज थकान का अनुभव भी करते हैं. इसमें उन्हें बिना किसी परिश्रम वाले काम के ही थकान का अनुभव होने लगता है.
3. इसके पीड़ितों के गले में खराश का होना भी एक सामान्य लक्षण है. हलांकि ऐसे सामान्य लक्षणों के दिखने के बाद आपको जांच कराने के बाद ही हकीकत का पता चलेगा.
4. स्वाइन फ्लू के लक्षणों में एक ये भी है कि आपके त्वचा पर लाल चकत्ते निकल आते हैं. जिससे आप इसके होने का अनुमान लगा सकते हैं.
5. स्वाइन फ्लू के संक्रमण के शिकार के लोगों के शरीर और मांसपेशियों में दर्द की भी शिकायत होती है.
6. इसके मरीजों को ठंड लगने की समस्या देखी ती है.
7. जी मिचलाना भी स्वाइन फ्लू के तमाम लक्षणों में से एक है.
8. इसके संक्रमण से पीड़ित मरीजों में उल्टी आने की समस्या देखी जा सकती है.
9. दस्त लगना भी इसके तमाम लक्षणों में से एक ही है.
10. कुछ रोगियों को श्वसन संबंधी लक्षण भी हो सकते हैं जैसे सांस लेने में परेशानी. इन हालत में उन्हें सांस लेनें में मदद करने वाले यंत्र की ज़रूरत पड़ती है जैसे वेन्टलेटर.
11. अगर संक्रमण बना रहता है तो रोगी को निमोनिया हो सकता है और कुछ रोगी सीज़्यर का अचानक बढ़ना.
12. इसका असर व्यक्ति पर थोड़े समय के लिए ही रहता है, मूल रूप से व्यक्ति की कार्य करने की क्षमता पर असर पड़ता है) भी हो सकता है. इससे मौत अक्सर इसकी वजह से होने वाले फेफड़ों के संक्रमण से होती है.

Immunity (Ojas) - How To Maintain & Boost It?

Jiva Ayurveda 92% (109 ratings)
Bachelor of Ayurveda, Medicine and Surgery (BAMS)
Ayurveda, Saharanpur
Immunity (Ojas) - How To Maintain & Boost It?

Immunity in Ayurveda is linked to good digestion, a balanced endocrine system, proper functioning of the liver and a strong agni or metabolism. It's also strongly connected to a subtle essence known as ojas, which means vigor. According to Ayurveda, the strength of your ojas has a bearing on the influences and factors (both external and internal), which cause you to suffer from any health problem. By protecting your ojas, you boost your body's immune system and protect you from every external or internal harms.

There are times when the protection of this subtle essence becomes vital and these are:

  1. Period of recuperation
  2. Stressful situations
  3. Period between seasons
  4. Cold and flu period
  5. Times of rejuvenation
  6. Drastic change in your routine
  7. Major life changes like having a baby or divorce

How to go about protecting your ojas and boosting your immunity levels?

  1. When it comes to boosting your immunity and fortifying your ojas through diet, garlic is a very useful food. It provides natural support to your body's immune system by kindling your agni, eliminates destroys natural toxins, ensures your body temperature is at an optimal level, improves the functioning of the lungs and as well as removes excess kapha (one of the three energies or doshas) from your body.
  2. The adoption of certain fruitful Ayurvedic therapies such as yoga, pranayama and meditation can help in supporting the quality of your ojas, thereby improving your immunity. Although these practices come with diverse benefits, all of them aid in cultivating presence, clearing up your nadis (channels in the body), relieve stress and digest ama (toxins).
  3. There are also certain herbs that are known to support your immune system and encourage proper function of the immune system. Herbs like Ashwaganda, guduchi, neem and holy basil ensures a balanced immune system, rendering you with an optimal health. 

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

7614 people found this helpful

Medicines For Day To Day Requirement - 6 Homeopathic Remedies That Are Must!

Homeopath, Bangalore
Medicines For Day To Day Requirement - 6 Homeopathic Remedies That Are Must!

Homeopathy is a slow form of treatment, but is has negligible side effects. This makes it safer to self medicate with light doses of homeopathy than an antibiotic. Homeopathy can be used for first aid, to fight common infections and as general constitutional remedies.

Here are a few common homeopathic medicines you should keep at home. 

  1. Nux Vomica: Nux vomica can be safely used to treat gastrointestinal diseases, a loss of appetite, depression and migranes. The ideal dosage for nux vomica depends on the age of the patient, their overall health and several other conditions. Nux vomica can also be used to cure a hangover
  2. Aconite: When taken at the onset of a cold, aconite can stop the virus from progressing further. Aconite can also be used for joint pain, gout, inflammations and to speed up the healing of wounds. Apart from the pill form, aconite can also be used as a cream.
  3. Arnica: If you have kids at home, arnica is a must have. It is the most common homeopathic remedy for bruising, accidents, injuries and shocks. It can also be used to treat arthritis and the pain that follows dental work and jet lag. Arnica can also be used to promote hair growth. Depending on its use, arnica can be used in the form of pills, cream or oils.
  4. Cantharis: Cantharis is an ointment that should be kept in every kitchen. It is the most effective anti inflammatory cream to treat burns of any kind. When a burn is treated with cantharis, it leaves minimal scars. It can also be used to treat urinary tract infections. Cantharis is usually used as a cream. 
  5. Magnesia phosphoric: This is a must have for women. It can be used to treat any form of cramps including menstrual cramps. It can also be used to treat tiredness, headaches, nerve pain, insomnia and to help a person relax. Magnesia phosphoric is usually prescribed in the form of homeopathic pills. 
  6. Rhus tox: Rhus tox is a common homeopathic remedy for muscle sprains and bruising. It is also beneficial for people suffering from back aches, arthritis, sciatica and body aches associated with the flu. Rhus tox is usually found in the form of homeopathic pills. 

One should not do any type of self medication, however, you should check with your homeopathic practitioner about the dosage and frequency of consumption. Do not take it for granted that homeopathy has no side effects and take a more intense dose than required. Also store these medicines properly. Ideally, homeopathic medicine should be stored  in a cool place without direct exposure to sunlight or extreme heat or cold.  In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

5214 people found this helpful

Germs On A Toilet Seat - How They Actually Affect You?

Dr. Jagdish Prasad Mehrotra 93% (1608 ratings)
General Physician, Gurgaon
Germs On A Toilet Seat - How They Actually Affect You?

One may never know when he or she might need to use a public toilet. And whenever it comes to using a toilet that is used by so many different people, the question regarding the presence of germs on the toilet seat is bound to arise. Often, the toilet seats in a public toilet are associated with being the biggest source of germs in the restrooms. Read on to know the actual relevance of germs being on the toilet seats and whether they can affect one’s health or not.

Common germs on the toilet seats
The chance of having sexually transmitted viruses such as genital herpes or bacteria such as chlamydia from the toilet seats is really low, as these microbes tend to die just as they come in contact with a cold surface, such as the toilet seats. However, there are few other bacteria present, that one can pick up from a toilet seat easily. To name some of the common germs that one can get affected with from toilet seats are, the fecal borne E. Coli bacteria, Shigella bacteria, Streptococcus, Staphylococcus, and influenza.

The serious health threats that germs pose
Though the chances of developing serious health conditions as a result of using toilet seats are lesser, it doesn't mean that there is no risk of illnesses. For example, while the majority influenza virus can live for only 2 or 3 days on a non-porous surface, such as the toilet seats, some virus strains can actually survive longer and may affect one with common cold or flu.

  • Escherichia coli is another very common bacteria found on the toilet seats that can make you suffer from diarrhea and other types of stomach distress when transmitted.
  • Bacteria like Staphylococcus can contaminate non-porous surfaces for more than two months. Spending 3 minutes on a toilet seat contaminated with this bacterium can lead to skin rash or skin infections. Also, bacteria like Shigella can affect one by causing shigellosis infections with abdominal pain, dysentery, etc.

The best way to deal with toilet seat germs
The chances of being affected by bacteria are certainly lesser when using a cleaner toilet seat than that of a dirty one. Plus, after using the toilet seat, one needs to wash their hands properly to avoid the chance of bacterial infection as much as possible. Unless one washes his hands, it is advised to not to touch the mouth, eyes, nose, or other sensitive areas and any food items with the hands. Carrying antibacterial alcohol wipes can be helpful too.

Prevention is always better than cure. Thus, one needs to be alert when using a toilet. After all, even the cleanest looking toilet seat may be a home to various illness causing bacteria invisible to normal eyes.

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H1N1 Influenza - What Steps Should You Take To Treat It?

Dr. Hemant Kalra 89% (336 ratings)
MBBS, MD -Pulmonary Medicine-Tuberculosis ,Respiratory Disease Medicine , Diploma in Tuberculosis and Chest Diseases (DTCD), European Diploma in Respiratory Medicine
Pulmonologist, Delhi
H1N1 Influenza - What Steps Should You Take To Treat It?

Are you experiencing symptoms of flu, such as a cough, sore throat, fever, body aches and headaches? Are you feeling sick around your stomach and throwing up more than usual? This indicates you have H1N1 flu or swine flu. Swine flu is a form of influenza that affects pigs, or a form of human influenza that is caused by a related virus.

It is difficult to tell whether you have got swine flu or seasonal flu, as the associated symptoms are similar. There are a few different symptoms. A laboratory test is hence required for the detection of swine flu. Sometimes, a rapid flu test taken in a doctor’s chamber is not enough for the proper diagnosis of swine flu.

For swine flu testing, a swab is taken by a doctor from the insides of your nose and the back of your throat. This test is usually taken by people who are living in hospitals or are at a high risk of death because of life threatening conditions, because of swine flu. Children below the age of 6, people above the age of 65, and children taking aspirin therapy are more likely to develop swine flu. Adults or children suffering from lung, blood, liver and nervous system disorders are also prone to swine flu. Pregnant women and people with a weak immune system are also susceptible to swine flu.

Several antiviral drugs, which are used to treat seasonal flu, are used to treat swine flu as well. However, some drugs prescribed for seasonal flu do not respond to swine flu. Using these medicines enables faster treatment and also makes the patient feel better. You must take the medicines within 48 hours of observing the first swine flu symptom. They are also effective when given at a later stage. Antibiotics do not treat swine flu as the flu itself is caused by a virus and not by a bacterium.

Certain over-the-counter (OTC) painkillers and medicines for cold and flu may also help in relieving aches, fever and pain. Abstain from giving aspirin to patients below the age of eighteen as it could lead to Reye’s syndrome. You can prevent yourself from getting swine flu by taking a vaccine. The same flu vaccine, which prevents seasonal flu, also protects the H1N1 swine flu strain. This can be taken in the form of a shot or a nasal spray.  In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

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