While flu vaccines can be taken throughout the year, taking the vaccines during the flu season would help strengthen immunity and reduce the severity of the influenza infection, doctors said. (Image: Pixabay)
Hyderabad: Doctors and medical experts advised residents to be cautious amid changing weather conditions and to opt for influenza vaccination during the flu season, which peaks between monsoon and winter.
While flu vaccines can be taken throughout the year, taking the vaccines during the flu season would help strengthen immunity and reduce the severity of the influenza infection, they said.
Dr Kiran Madhala, a member of the TS Indian Medical Association (IMA) scientific committee, said that statistics showed influenza was responsible for 70 per cent of respiratory infections, much more than Covid-19.
"Those who are getting infected with influenza flu are taking a longer time to recover. Mortality rate is higher, from 6-25 per cent in the high-risk population — children below five years of age and elderly above 60 years," Dr Madhala said.
Doctors said that as per the WHO’s recommendation, each year, batches of flu vaccines are released twice a year, in October or November and April or May, based on the circulating strains.
Dr Sivaranjani Santosh, senior consultant paediatrician, said that children were in the high-risk group and that it may lead to chronic diseases, such as asthma or immunodeficiency.
"Children below five years of age, adults above 65 years, patients with chronic immunodeficiency, diabetes, heart disease and pregnant women are more at risk for flu-related complications. Complications are most severe in infants younger than six months. Any vaccine needs three weeks after administration to mount a decent immune response. The vaccine offers around 70-80 per cent protection against viruses," said Dr Santosh.
Dr Sindhura Manukuntla, consultant paediatrician, explained that as per the India Academy of Paediatrics, children aged between six months and five years should be given two doses of the vaccine, four weeks apart.
Dr Shiva Raju K., head of medicine department, KIMS Hospital, said: "High fever, severe body pain, headache and throat pain are the common symptoms observed in all age groups. There will be a surge in flu as the winter approaches. It is advisable to get the vaccines, especially for smokers, patients of asthma, bronchitis and allergies."