Three Myths About The Flu That Every Parent Should Know
Created by Hina Srivastava Updated on Dec 24, 2019
The influenza virus causes the ‘flu’ which affects primarily the respiratory organs - the lungs, throat and the nose. It is a viral infection that is contagious. Children are most vulnerable to this disease; a cough or a sneeze by an infected person is enough for the virus to spread.
Influenza viruses can be divided into 4 types – Type A, B, C and D. Type A virus spreads H1N1, also known as ‘Swine Flu’. Each year 3 to 5 million cases of the flu are reported worldwide. It can get life-threatening if left unattended.
Although it is imperative for parents to know about the Influenza virus, its causes, symptoms, and prevention, it becomes all the more important to understand the myths attached to the ‘flu’.
The three major myths that every parent should know are:
Myth 1 – Flu is akin to Common Cold
The biggest myth attached to the influenza virus is confusing it with the common cold. Since its symptoms are close to that of the common cold, parents generally tend to overlook the other symptoms affecting their child’s body. Apart from high fever, runny nose, and sore throat, the other major symptoms are muscle and joint pain and feeling tired or lethargic.
One should watch out for these extra symptoms and immediately contact a medical practitioner.
Myth 2 – Flu affects only Children, not Adults
Another myth attached to the flu is that it affects only children and not healthy adults. This is not true as the flu can affect even the healthiest of persons, especially non-vaccinated. Though the most vulnerable are children under 5 years of age, pregnant women and health workers (directly exposed to the virus) are also susceptible. Hence, everyone can and should get themselves vaccinated against influenza every year.
Myth 3 – Getting a flu vaccine is all you need to protect yourself from the infection
Vaccination against any viral disease is definitely an act of prevention but it is not a 100% guaranteed protection from the virus. One needs to take self-care also, like avoiding crowded places, contact with the infected person, washing hands and mouth frequently, maintaining good personal hygiene, etc.
Flu patients are advised to take plenty of rest, drink enough fluids and avoid alcohol or tobacco. No antibiotics should be taken. Antibiotics do not work with viral infections. However, acetaminophen (paracetamol) can be taken to control fever and muscle pain; but always consult your doctor.
According to WHO, (World Health Organisation) the best way to prevent the flu and limit its complication, in any group, is a dose of the annual influenza vaccine. This vaccine can be given to children from 6 months onwards to 8 years, annually. This vaccine can be taken by adults as well and provides immunity for a duration of 9 months to a year. It is safe and generally has no side effects.
Prevention is better than cure, is a phrase that holds a lot of importance. It is necessary to be well- informed but not ill-informed. As parents, we need to understand the adverse effect Flu can have on our child. It is our responsibility to know the correct facts and act accordingly for the well-being of ourselves and our children.
The views expressed in the blog content are independent and unbiased views of solely the blogger. This is a part of the public awareness initiative on influenza supported by Sanofi Pasteur India. Sanofi Pasteur bears no responsibility for the content of the blog. One should consult their healthcare provider for any health-related information.