Children are most susceptible to influenza. Influenza symptoms can range from mild to severe and lead to hospitalization or death. Children with influenza may have fever, chills, cough, runny or stuffy nose, sore throat, body aches, headache, lethargy, vomiting, and diarrhoea. Parents must be aware of their children’s influenza symptoms to seek medical help. There are flu vaccines for kids. Practice good hygiene, such as washing your hands, to prevent the infection from spreading.
However, we often reject them and blame temperature or humidity drops. Despite weather change, these symptoms in youngsters may indicate flu. Flu spreads faster in winter and monsoon seasons due to fluctuating temperatures. Thus, ‘flu season’ in India is September–November. Children need maximum flu protection this season. Flu-related hospitalizations are seven times more probable in children under five, studies show. Even in uncomplicated cases, children may take 8–10 days to recover. No parent wants their child to suffer this.
UNICEF’s The State of the World’s Children 2023: For Every Child, Vaccination found that 67 million children missed one or more vaccinations over three years (2019-2021) due to strained health systems, resource diversion, conflict and fragility, and decreased confidence. The WHO and UNICEF reported that fewer children worldwide skipped routine vaccinations in 2022 than in 2021, showing a comeback in childhood vaccines after the COVID-19 epidemic.
Dr. Abhishek Chatterjee of Anav Child Care, New Delhi advises three strategies to prevent flu and its complications in children.
Vaccinate kids against flu.
With the motto ‘better safe than sorry,’ the Indian Academy of Paediatrics recommends immunization to protect children from serious flu complications. Children 6 months to 5 years old need one annual immunization. This is because four flu viruses are shapeshifters. The annual flu vaccine combats their annual transformation.
Make sure you and your kids practice basic hygiene.
Basic hygiene protects against flu and slows its spread. Infected people can spread flu viruses by coughing, sneezing, or talking in public. youngsters can get the flu from close contact with infected adults or youngsters. They can catch the flu by touching contaminated surfaces since it lives on solid surfaces. This is why kids must learn to wash their hands often with soap and water. Sanitize their toys and other frequently used items.
If youngsters have flu symptoms, don’t send them to school or outside.
Symptoms may emerge before a child has flu. This means they can spread the virus. Keep them home for a few days or until your pediatrician approves school. This reduces flu spread. Parents must remain vigilant and take precautionary procedures to stop this transfer.
Children are most at risk of influenza, which can cause mild to severe symptoms. Parents should know their children’s influenza symptoms in case they need medical help. Children can get influenza immunizations and practice excellent hygiene including hand washing.
To avoid difficulties, children in India must take optimum flu protection from September to November. Flu-related hospitalizations are seven times more prevalent in children under five and take 8-10 days to recover. Due to service delays, war, and low confidence, 67 million children missed immunizations over three years, according to UNICEF. New data shows fewer youngsters missed routine immunizations in 2022 than in 2021.