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Flu Tips

Flu In Pregnancy - How Can You Prevent It From Happening?

Dr. Rashi Sinha 90% (140 ratings)
MBBS, MS, DNB, Rcog London
Gynaecologist, Muzaffarpur
Flu In Pregnancy - How Can You Prevent It From Happening?

When you are pregnant, the need to watch your health is significantly higher. It is not just a question of your health, but of the developing baby also. This makes it extremely significant as different bacteria and viruses could affect the baby’s development and even lead to complications with pregnancy and childbirth.

The flu, short for influenza, is a mild viral infection that affects the upper airways, including the nose, throat, and sinuses. The usual symptoms include nose blockage, runny nose, sore throat, sneezing, cough, heavy headed feeling. It is caused by a virus and therefore there is no remedy for it. It has to run its course which usually takes about 7 days, and the body will fight off the infection on its own.

Symptomatic treatment including paracetamol and adequate hydration can help live through the flu. Though it is common in any weather, the winters increase the risk.

Another increased risk factor is the reduced immune levels in a pregnant woman, making them more prone to catching the flu. This could lead to complications like pneumonia which might require hospitalisation and prolonged treatment with antibiotics. The baby could also be at risk of miscarriage, low birth weight, and premature birth.

Symptoms: If you do catch the flu during your pregnancy, you will notice the following symptoms a headache, runny nose, fatigue, sore throat, shortness of breath, coughing, sudden chills or fever, diarrhoea or vomiting, and body aches, and loss of appetite.

Management: If you suspect that you could have the flu, contact the doctor immediately. Taking safe antiviral medications can help reduce the duration of the illness and reduce pain and suffering. In addition, getting plenty of rest and drinking lots of fluids can help recovery. Acetaminophen can help manage the fever, while Robitussin and guaifenesin can help manage the cough.

Prevention: If you are planning for pregnancy or are already pregnant, it makes great sense to get vaccinated for the flu. This can help prevent a flu attack and sail through pregnancy smoothly. In addition to protecting the mother, the flu vaccine also transmits the virus to the newborn, which gets immunity for up to 6 months of life. The vaccine also has a beneficial effect on the newborn.

It is safe to get the flu vaccine during pregnancy, though taking it in the early months is advisable. It is also safe during breastfeeding with no harmful effects documented. In addition, some healthy habits like regularly washing hands, eating healthy, getting adequate sleep, and keeping a safe distance from people with flu can help prevent flu attack.

While prevention is the best solution, if contracted, the flu can be managed well by seeking immediate medical attention.

1 person found this helpful

Influenza - Factors That Lead To It!

Alliance Munot Hospital 90% (60 ratings)
General Physician, Pune
Influenza - Factors That Lead To It!

Influenza or flu is a contagious respiratory infection that affects the lungs, throat, nose and occasionally, the ears. It usually does not require treatment but Paracetamol can provide relief from most of the symptoms. Rarely, influenza can lead to severe complications like pneumonia, sinus problems and asthma.Annual vaccinations can prevent these complications even if you do get a mild flu.
Causes
The influenza virus is air borne and can be spread through coughing, sneezing, skin to skin contact, or indirect contact like touching a contaminated object. Type A, Type B and Type C influenza viruses affect the respiratory organs.
People with weak immune systems are infected more easily than others- children under the age of 4, people above the age of 60 pregnant women, obese people and those who are suffering from kidney disorders and diabetes are at greater risk of infection. Air pollution also aggravates the problem.
There is also little chance that your body has the necessary antibodies to fight the virus if you have been infected before. This is because the influenza virus modifies constantly and new strains of the virus appear rapidly. So, the antibodies that work against one particular variant do not work effectively against the others. This is why vaccination is also not a foolproof preventive technique against this disease.

Symptoms
The symptoms of influenza begin to show within a few days after infection. In a few cases, the infection may be asymptomatic. When they do show, the symptoms are very common- high fever, shivering, a blocked and runny nose, frequent coughing and sneezing and chest congestion are the predominant signs. In the later stages, there are headaches, body aches, general fatigue, reddened and watering eyes, throat pains and difficulty in speaking.
In the cases where the patient is a child, there are a few other symptoms like digestive and gastrointestinal disorders such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain. The last two are especially common in children who have been infected by influenza virus Type B.
Aged people often have low resistance to the virus. This is why the flu quickly escalates and the complications like primary viral pneumonia or secondary bacterial pneumonia. In such cases, there are sever symptoms like breathing problems, the presence of blood in the sputum, red and itchy skin and petechial rashes (caused by minor punctures in the capillary blood vessels).

 

How Flu Can Affect Your Pregnancy?

Motherhood 88% (268 ratings)
Speciality Birthing Care
Gynaecologist, Bangalore
How Flu Can Affect Your Pregnancy?

When you are pregnant, the need to watch your health is significantly higher. It is not just a question of your health, but of the developing baby also. This makes it extremely significant as different bacteria and viruses could affect the baby’s development and even lead to complications with pregnancy and childbirth.

The flu, short for influenza, is a mild viral infection that affects the upper airways, including the nose, throat, and sinuses. The usual symptoms include nose blockage, runny nose, sore throat, sneezing, cough, heavy headed feeling. It is caused by a virus and therefore there is no remedy for it. It has to run its course which usually takes about 7 days, and the body will fight off the infection on its own.

Symptomatic treatment including paracetamol and adequate hydration can help live through the flu. Though it is common in any weather, the winters increase the risk.

Another increased risk factor is the reduced immune levels in a pregnant woman, making them more prone to catching the flu. This could lead to complications like pneumonia which might require hospitalisation and prolonged treatment with antibiotics. The baby could also be at risk of miscarriage, low birth weight, and premature birth.

Symptoms: If you do catch the flu during your pregnancy, you will notice the following symptoms a headache, runny nose, fatigue, sore throat, shortness of breath, coughing, sudden chills or fever, diarrhoea or vomiting, and body aches, and loss of appetite.

Management: If you suspect that you could have the flu, contact the doctor immediately. Taking safe antiviral medications can help reduce the duration of the illness and reduce pain and suffering. In addition, getting plenty of rest and drinking lots of fluids can help recovery. Acetaminophen can help manage the fever, while Robitussin and guaifenesin can help manage the cough.

Prevention: If you are planning for pregnancy or are already pregnant, it makes great sense to get vaccinated for the flu. This can help prevent a flu attack and sail through pregnancy smoothly. In addition to protecting the mother, the flu vaccine also transmits the virus to the newborn, which gets immunity for up to 6 months of life. The vaccine also has a beneficial effect on the newborn.

It is safe to get the flu vaccine during pregnancy, though taking it in the early months is advisable. It is also safe during breastfeeding with no harmful effects documented. In addition, some healthy habits like regularly washing hands, eating healthy, getting adequate sleep, and keeping a safe distance from people with flu can help prevent flu attack.

While prevention is the best solution, if contracted, the flu can be managed well by seeking immediate medical attention.

1 person found this helpful

Flu Shot - When Should You Get It?

Dr. Bijut Hazarika 86% (10 ratings)
MBBS Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery, MD - Medicine
General Physician, Guwahati
Flu Shot - When Should You Get It?

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

 

 

3097 people found this helpful

Why Should You Get Your Child Vaccinated Against Influenza?

Dr. Priyadarshan Muthal 87% (210 ratings)
MD - Paediatrics, MBBS Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery
Pediatrician, Chandrapur
Why Should You Get Your Child Vaccinated Against Influenza?

Influenza is more commonly known as the flu. It is an infection that affects the respiratory system and is caused by the influenza virus. This injection is recommended for kids who are under the age of 6 months. It ensures that the baby is safeguarded from the virus during an influenza outbreak. Since the nature of virus changes year on year, the immunity doesn’t last for more than 1 year. This vaccination is ideally taken during the month of October and November. The effect of the vaccination typically lasts for 6-8 months.

Ideally, kids who have never had a flu vaccination should take 2 vaccinations within 4 weeks. Kids who have received a shot of flu should undertake this vaccination once in a year. This arrangement is ideal up to 9 years of age. Flu shot is extremely important for a kid due to the following reasons:

  • It saves a kid from chronic lung and heart disorders such as asthma and cystic fibrosis
  • Kids suffering from immune deficiency, cancer, and HIV should take this vaccination to avoid further complication of the existing disease
  • Kids suffering from diabetes, kidney diseases, and metabolic disorders should go for this vaccination without a second thought
  • Kids suffering from a neurological disorder, haemoglobin deficiency, and anaemia should take this vaccination to refrain from the risk of aggravation of the present disease
  • Pregnant women should ideally take it for the safeguarding the fetus

Flu shot should not be taken be taken if:
1. A baby is under the age of 6 months.
2. The baby has thimerosal allergy.

Is flu shot safe?
The flu shot is considered to be very safe. It does not result in flu. Few side effects include:
a. Soreness of the place where the needle is injected. This doesn’t last for more than a couple of day.
b. Body ache and mild fever for the first couple of days after the vaccination is done.
c. There is little to no pain in the place where the injection is injected by the doctor.

What is nasal flu vaccine?
This is an influenza dose that is not injected into the body, but given in the form of nasal spray. Healthy kids above the age of 2 years are fit to get this injection. For those kids who have a history of chronic illness should check with their doctor to go ahead with nasal spray. Each dose is given in each nostril. Like the influenza vaccine, nasal flu vaccine should be undertaken once for those who have already taken this dose once. Kids who have not undergone this vaccination are eligible for 2 dosages each 4 weeks apart from each other.

2 people found this helpful

Getting The Flu Vaccine - Why It's Important

Dr. Col V C Goyal 94% (9898 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’. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

 

1666 people found this helpful

Stomach Flu Symptoms

Dt. Neha Suryawanshi 92% (14167 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 88% (2444 ratings)
MBBS
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. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

4904 people found this helpful

Taking Inactivated Influenza Vaccine - Is It Beneficial?

Dr. Ashish Kale 93% (106 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 90% (4391 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. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

3300 people found this helpful
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