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What are some of the precautions to be taken to prevent the flu? #FightAgainstFlu

Have you ever suffered from sore throat, fever, runny nose and body aches? Most likely, you have faced the symptoms of Seasonal flu!

Seasonal flu or influenza is a serious health concern affecting thousands of people every year, some even leading to hospitalization. The best protection against flu can be provided by the seasonal flu vaccine which can also prevent complications such as infections, pneumonia and deteriorating chronic diseases like diabetes, heart failure, or asthma.1 Flu is a common infection that thrives in cool weather and often attacks the respiratory system. At the same time, it can cause allergic reactions, reduced immunity and diarrhea.2 

I recently attended a live session on Influenza which was a very informative and educative one. I not only learnt about the basics of flu, how does it spread, and precautions to be taken, but also about vaccines, how important it is and their effectiveness. The session also covered several guidance measures to be taken by schools, colleges, corporates and employees alike. Overall, it was a very enlightening and eye-opening session.

How can you protect yourself from the seasonal flu?

To protect yourself from the seasonal flu, you must develop your holistic health. It is necessary to maintain a healthy lifestyle by having a healthy diet, a regular sleep cycle and keeping stress under check. You must do regular exercise and eat nutritional meals avoiding junk food. Adequate intake of Vitamin D through cheese, spinach or eggs and water to stay hydrated are equally important.3

Now, that we have covered the basic prevention techniques, you must consider the seasonal flu vaccine, which not only reduces the risk of infection in adults, senior citizens, and pregnant women but also in children.3

Everything you need to know about flu vaccines:

Flu vaccine when injected leads the body to develop antibodies against the influenza virus within 2 weeks of vaccination. It protects against two influenza B viruses, influenza A (H1N1) virus and influenza A (H3N2) virus effectively. There are varied licensed vaccine options available.1

If you are 6 months and older, you must get your influenza vaccine shot every year as advised by the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.1

When should you get vaccinated? It is important to get vaccinated before the community spread and thus, everyone should ideally be vaccinated before the season changes. Senior citizens should avoid early vaccination so that the protection doesn’t wane away. Some children may even require two doses. It is important

to get a shot every year as the immune protection declines over time and needs to be updated regularly.1

Another point to be noted is Vaccine Effectiveness (VE) which depends on health, age and match between the virus in circulation and that in the vaccine. Thus, one can get the flu even after being vaccinated. But the severity of the illness is drastically reduced, often protecting against complications.2

Along with getting vaccinated, you must continue with the basic hygiene measures:

a. Cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze.3

b. Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. If you are not near water, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.3

c. Stay away as much as you can from people who are sick.3

d. Try not to touch your eyes, nose, or mouth as viruses often spread this way.3

Thus, it is important to join hands together in this #FightAgainstFlu and take the necessary precautionary measures to protect our loved ones and ourselves. By following the above-mentioned steps, you can beat the seasonal flu.

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