Bengaluru: The arrival of monsoon in the city has also led to an increase in cases of fever, loose bowel movements, cough and common cold, especially among children.
June to October is considered a flu season in India and though there are flu shots for children to protect them from various viral diseases, there is very little awareness among parents. It is not mentioned in routine immunisation card for children and is not in national immunisation schedule and considered optional.
City doctors say they see children below the age of nine years suffering from frequent fever and cold and it is important for them to get flu shots as the antibodies will prevent them from falling prey to common colds and fever. “The flu shot can be taken by anyone above the age of 6 months,” said Dr Purnima, a paediatrician in a city hospital.
The perfect time to get the flu shot is a couple of weeks before the onset of monsoon, as the antibodies take two weeks to adjust to the body. Dr Pratik Patil, consultant (infectious diseases), Fortis Hospitals said, “The vaccination should be taken before onset of influenza activity in the community. It can reduce the risk of contracting flu infection and its complications.”
He also said that trivalent vaccine and quadric valent vaccines are available. It protects from most common flu viruses: Influenza A (H1N1, H3N2) and influenza B, however live intranasal vaccine is not recommended.
“Populations at higher risk for medical complications due to severe influenza that includes children less than five years and people aged above 50 years. Those with have chronic lung (including asthma/ COPD) or heart, kidney, liver, neurologic, hematologic, or metabolic disorders (including diabetes mellitus) and people who are immune-compromised (steroids/ HIV/ cancer); pregnant women, must receive flu vaccine,” Dr Patil said.
Dr Ashok M.V., Consultant Neonatologist and Pediatrician from Fortis said, “The flu shot costs around Rs 800 and is available in almost all the major hospitals in the city. It is different from other vaccines as the strains change frequently so which require frequent booster doses.”
He also said that many are not aware as it is not mentioned in routine immunisation card and is not in national immunisation schedule as it is an optional vaccine. Hardly 10-20 per cent children in state are vaccinated, most being from urban area.
Doctors also said that falling ill with flu frequently affects the body’s natural immunity and so taking these shots can prove helpful....