Flu season can start as early as October and peek in December or January

Author: Dr. Jyothish George


"Flu' is a common word used to describe respiratory diseases caused by various groups of viruses. Common viruses that cause Flu are influenza, parainfluenza, Adenovirus, RSV, etc.
Flu is prevalent in school-going children and spreads from one person to another by contact, droplet, or aerosol methods. Flu manifests as running nose, high-grade fever, cough, eyes-redness, headache, and body aches. Usually, it takes about 3 to 5 days for the child to recover from the Flu.

Sometimes it can lead to complications such as viral pneumonia or bronchiolitis, where the child can have fast breathing, low saturations, drowsiness, poor intake, and may require hospital admission and sometimes ICU care.

Managing children with Flu includes using paracetamol for fever, steam inhalation, rest, avoiding sending them to school, good hydration, and nutritious food. If a child goes to school with Flu, they may infect other kids or get a secondary viral or bacterial infection, so it is highly recommended to avoid schooling during Flu.

It is also essential to monitor for complications. If the child is not accepting orally, has fast breathing, and has drowsiness, it is better to go to a nearby hospital and consult a pediatrician.



  • First, avoid sending children to school when a child is having the Flu. 
  • Secondly, maintain good hand hygiene and wear a mask.
  • Thirdly, using appropriate medication during illness, avoid self-medication and self-antibiotic usage.
  • Fourth, take flu shots yearly as recommended by the pediatrician.


  • Does Giving milk increase chest congestion?  
    • No, in Flu, milk can be given as the child will not accept other food, so giving milk will maintain nutrition and hydration.
  • Fruits should not be given during the Flu 
    • No, all fruits can be given during the Flu.
  • Is it okay to give a bath to children during the Flu?  
    • Yes, a bath can be given to children during the Flu.
  • Flu can happen only once in a year.  
    • No, Flu can occur more than once in a year; school-going kids can have 5 to 6 episodes of Flu in a year as each time infective agent may be different viruses.
  • Giving a yearly flu vaccine weaken the immunity of the child?  
    • No, giving flu vaccines yearly with new strains will boost immunity against the new strains.

Dr. Jyothish George,


Your Friendly Guide to Tackling Flu Season.

As the flu season begins, many worry about the threat of influenza. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), World Health Organization, Dubai Health Authority, Ministry Of Health and Prevention (UAE), and medical associations, including the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics, state that getting vaccinated for the flu is essential. There are many misconceptions about the flu and the flu vaccine. We have highlighted certain myths and facts regarding the Flu vaccine. 

Myth #1: Getting the flu shot isn't necessary.
Fact: Flu can be a serious disease, especially for older adults, young children, and people with chronic health conditions or immune deficiencies. Even among healthy children and adults, the flu may cause serious health complications that can lead to hospitalization and death.
For the US 2018-2019 flu season, the CDC estimated that the flu vaccine prevented 4.4 million influenza illnesses, 2.3 million influenza-associated medical visits, 58,000 influenza-associated hospitalizations, and 3,500 influenza-associated deaths. ( REF: CDC)

Myth #2: Getting the flu vaccine can give you the flu.
Fact: Flu vaccines cannot cause flu illness. Flu vaccines delivered via an injection (flu shots) are made from inactivated (killed) viruses that cannot cause a flu illness. 
Some people may have a mild reaction to the flu shot. People who get the flu shot may experience soreness, redness, tenderness, or swelling where the shot was given, as well as a low-grade fever, headache, and muscle aches. (same as any other vaccine given intra-muscular)
The CDC states that these reactions are usually mild, are far less severe than having the actual flu, and last for a short time.  

Myth #3: People who get the flu vaccine can still get it, so it's not worth vaccinating.
Fact: It's true that some people who get vaccinated still get the flu. This can happen for several reasons. Some people:

  • They may have already been exposed to the flu virus shortly before getting vaccinated or during the two weeks after vaccination. It takes about two weeks for the body to develop antibodies after vaccination.
  • They may have become ill from other respiratory viruses besides the flu, such as rhinoviruses that cause the common cold.
  • They may be exposed to a flu virus that wasn't included in the vaccine for that year.
  • They may get the flu even if the vaccine for that year is designed to help protect against it. Flu vaccines vary in how well they work, and some people get the flu even though they are vaccinated. A person's response to the vaccine is based on overall health and age. Some older people and people with chronic illness may develop less immunity than healthy, younger people.

Several studies show that people who were vaccinated but still got the flu had less severe symptoms than people who weren't vaccinated and got the flu. So, it's still worth getting vaccinated.


Myth #4: People don't need to get the vaccine yearly.
Fact: The CDC recommends that most people six months or older get the vaccine yearly. This is because the flu viruses are constantly changing, and the strains of viruses that cause the flu differ annually. The flu vaccine is changed yearly to help protect against the specific viruses that researchers think will be circulating for the upcoming year.

Also, the protection received from the flu vaccine gets weaker over time. So even if the viruses don't change from one year to the next, it is recommended that people still get the vaccine.


Myth #5: If people don't get the flu vaccine early in the season, it's too late to get it now.

Fact: The CDC recommends getting vaccinated by the end of October. However, it's better to get vaccinated late than not at all. If flu viruses are active, people should get vaccinated—even in January or later. This is because flu activity can last as late as May in some years.


Myth #6: If a person has a chronic illness or is pregnant, they shouldn't get the flu vaccine.
Fact: The CDC recommends that most people six months of age or older get a yearly flu vaccination. This includes people with chronic health conditions, immune-suppressed, and women who are pregnant.

Some people should speak with their doctor before getting the flu vaccine. These include:

  • People who have a moderate-to-severe illness with or without a fever (they should wait until they recover to get vaccinated), and
  • People with a history of Guillain-Barré Syndrome (a severe paralytic illness, also called GBS) that occurred after receiving the influenza vaccine.

Myth #7: If people don't have a regular doctor, they cannot get the vaccine.
Fact: Flu vaccinations are provided at clinics, hospitals, and the public health department, and at places of employment and home through Homecare Services

If you or someone you know has more questions or concerns about getting the flu vaccine, talk with your physician at your healthcare provider.



DHA, CDC, WHO, AAP, Mayo Clinic 
For more information on who should and who should NOT get a flu vaccine, visit the CDC site: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/prevent/whoshouldvax.htm

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