"Flu-proof" Your Child: Time To Get A Flu Shot - KidsOnline
“Flu-proof” Your Child: Time To Get A Flu Shot

Influenza is a serious respiratory infection that can result in hospitalisation and even death. The best way to prevent influenza is vaccination. Because the strains of viruses change every year, pharmaceutical companies conduct research to find out which strains will be typical for the coming season worldwide.

By Dr. Ekaterina (Kate) Naumova*

Most people have had the flu, but not everyone knows that the word “influenza” refers to a very specific group of viruses that are a dangerous subset of the various common colds and flus we’re familiar with. In Việt Nam, you can get it at any time of the year.

Influenza is a serious respiratory infection that can result in hospitalisation and even death. The most common complication of influenza is bacterial pneumonia, but it can also aggravate chronic diseases such as asthma, chronic rhinitis and diabetes. It’s a highly contagious viral infection transmitted by coughing, sneezing or contact with someone who is infected, and it can also be transmitted if you touch surfaces on which infected influenza droplets have landed.

After being exposed, it usually takes an average of two days to develop symptoms, but it can range from one to four days. Typical influenza disease causes the onset of fever, headache, a runny or stuffy nose, eye pain and sensitivity to light. Kids may also suffer from nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea.

The fact that it spreads so easily is what makes it such an important health problem. People become contagious from the very beginning, one or two days before the onset of symptoms – even when they don’t yet know they have it. You can still pass on the virus to others for the next four or five days after the onset of symptoms.

Once you’re infected, there’s no going back. The virus will collect in the upper respiratory tract, producing phlegm in the airway in response to the inflammation of the surrounding organs. Your immune system (provided it’s functioning normally) will start to detect the presence of the virus multiplying in your body, and get to work on developing an antibody to fight it. The symptoms you experience are a combination of the spread of the virus and your body’s countermeasures, which will cause inflammation, fever and discomfort. Once your body has produced these antibodies, you’ll be protected from reinfection – and if you ever do contact the same virus again, it will be swiftly and invisibly dealt with.

So how is it that you can get the flu again and again? It’s because influenza gradually morphs into different forms as it spreads, making it resistant to antibodies that worked against it before. This means that every time the body catches a new strain of influenza, it must start from the beginning.

How can people protect themselves from a shape-shifting disease that keeps turning out new forms to infect us again and again? Firstly, we can try our best not to put ourselves and others at risk in the first place. For a start, remember to cover your nose and mouth with your sleeve or a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Wash your hands often with soap and water, or at least alcohol-based hand cleansers. Stay away from people who are sick as much as possible. If you already have influenza, stay at home from work or school for at least 24 hours after the fever has ended.

The best way to prevent influenza is vaccination. Because the strains of viruses change every year, pharmaceutical companies conduct research to find out which strains will be typical for the coming season worldwide. According to their results, they produce a new vaccine to match the circulating strains. Every year, we receive new vaccines that are different from the older ones and more effective against the forms of influenza that are likely to be ascendant during the following twelve months.

We usually receive our annual vaccines in October, which is the best time to get vaccinated. We use an inactivated vaccine (made from killed viruses) produced by Influvac that doesn’t cause the disease. Unlike some vaccines, Influvac does not contain egg, meaning those with egg allergies (including pregnant women) can take it safely. It will protect you only from the more common strains of the influenza virus, however—if you’re unlucky, you could still contract a less prevalent strain.

People aged six months and older should get the influenza vaccine, unless they suffer from an immunodeficiency condition. Kids under six months old should not get vaccinated because they’re too small—usually at that age, however, the mother is breastfeeding, so she can pass on some immunity to the baby if she is vaccinated. It’s recommended that everyone in a family with a baby should get vaccinated while the baby is still too young to receive or develop its own antibodies. It’s also important to note that kids under eight years old who receive their first-ever flu vaccine should get two shots one month apart to fully trigger their immune response.

The 2019-20 influenza vaccination contains the following:

  • A/Michigan/45/2015 (H1N1)pdm09-like strain
  • A/Kansas/14/2017 (H3N2)-like strain
  • B/Colorado/06/2017-like strain. — Family Medical Practice

*Dr. Ekaterina (Kate) Naumova gravitated toward pediatrics early in her career, drawn by a love for children, moving on to pursue her interest in dietetics and enhancing people’s health through nutritional changes. She is a graduate of the Pirogov Russian National Research Medical University.

Family Medical Practice was the first foreign-owned primary healthcare provider in Việt Nam, and has consistently remained at the forefront of international-standard medicine since 1995. It offers extensive healthcare and emergency medical services nationwide to Vietnamese, expatriate and corporate customers.

For more advice on any medical topics, visit Family Medical Practice Hanoi at: 298 I Kim Mã, Ba Đình. Tel: (024) 3843 0748.  E: hanoi@vietnammedicalpractice.com.

FMP’s downtown Hồ Chí Minh location is: Diamond Plaza, 34 Lê Duẩn, District 1; 95 Thảo Điền, District 2. Tel: (028) 38227848. E: hcmc@vietnammedicalpractice.com

FMP Đà Nẵng is located at 96-98 Nguyễn Văn Linh, Hải Châu District, Đà Nẵng. Tel: (0236) 3582 699. E: danang@vietnammedicalpractice.com

 Cre: Việt Nam News
Related news
KidsOnline speaks at the international workshop “Online education ecosystem – models, organization and quality assurance factors”
On Oct 27th, 2020, the Vietnam Institute of Educational Sciences partnered with Hanoi Open University to co-organize an international workshop on the topic of “Online education ecosystem – model, organization and quality assurance factors”. As reported by Dan Tri, online education has been identified as a domain that needs special attention and is strategic by […]
Read more
Time to turn ‘green thoughts’ into ‘green actions’
with UNICEF Vietnam’s ‘1-minute green’ video challenge
Dear friends, the central provinces of Viet Nam are currently suffering from the devastation of floods due to the impact of climate change and the consequences of environmental destruction. It’s high time to turn ‘green thoughts’ into ‘green actions’. Any action to tackle climate change and protect the environment, even smallest ones, can have a […]
Read more
REIMAGINE TALK: Digital Transformation in Viet Nam
Ha Noi, 9 October 2020 – An inspirational talk has been held today in Hanoi highlighting key challenges and opportunities that Viet Nam faces in narrowing the digital gap. Organized ahead of the MOET-ASEAN-UNICEF conference on Digital Transformation of the Education System throughout ASEAN, the Reimagine TALK aims to explore ways in which parents can engage […]
Read more
KidsOnline School Manager app launched on time for 2020-2021 new school year
Happy New School Year to our Kindergarten Managers and Headmasters! In time for the 2020-2021 schoolyear, KidsOnline presents the vastly enhanced KidsOnline School Manager app, for you to manage daily operation right from the convenience of YOUR PHONE: ✅ Dashboard and detailed attendance reports, available for both single and multiple campuses; ✅ Dashboard and real-time […]
Read more
KidsOnline and UNICEF call on parents and students to join the campaign “thank you for teachers” and share on social networks.
Hanoi, 5 September 2020 – As a majority of students in Viet Nam are set to return to school to begin the new academic year, KidsOnline and UNICEF are recognizing the crucial role that teachers have played in the last months to keep children learning while schools were closed during the COVID-19 pandemic. UNICEF calls […]
Read more
Five days, 63 sets of customized COVID-19 manual made ready for the new school year
In an effort to support Vietnam Ministry of Education and Training and provincial Department of Education and Training with the up-coming reopening of schools, Med247 and KidsOnline  took initiative to compile covid19 communication materials from UNICEF (“My Hero is You”), Ministry of Health  and CDC Viet Nam into “COVID-19 Manuals for Schools and Preschools” in […]
Read more
Made-in-Vietnam KidsOnline – Next step for 4.0 preschool education
In alignment with the technology boom in Industry 4.0, the education sector is adapting new smart technology solutions to increase efficiency. KidsOnline, an emerging-wanted technology solution for preschools using advanced technologies of the world-famous technology leader Amazon Web Services (AWS), is growing rapidly thanks to its multi-benefits for preschools managers, parents, and children. KidsOnline, a […]
Read more

Sign up for
kindergarten demo KidsOnline