Things Parents Should Keep in Mind about Flu and COVID-19

paediatrician in Whitefield

The flu season has already started amidst the coronavirus scare. Terming this second wave of COVID-19 as “twindemic”, experts are now fearing if the symptoms of COVID-19 and influenza will start to affect people, irrespective of age groups until the vaccine becomes available. The symptoms for both are similar and overlap. Hence, it will be a daunting task for parents especially, to decipher if a child has fallen sick due to flu or COVID-19 and would require quarantine or immediate hospitalization.  

According to a report by The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the viruses in flu and COVID-19 are spread in similar ways, however, COVID-19 has been found to be more contagious than flu. It is also stated in the report that there is a difference in the time for symptoms to appear COVID-19, according to paediatrician in Whitefield, spreads faster than flu among people, resulting in community transmission with the passage of time. 

Based on the impact of COVID-19 so far, health experts have emphasized keeping children at home, avoiding going to school or in social gatherings, and not get exposed to people who have been tested COVID positive. However, with the onset of the winter season and people making efforts to return to normalcy, it is important to take precautions and safety measures at all times. 

Same Pinch not! 

One of the key aspects that parents must not ignore is that the symptoms of Influenza and COVID-19 are similar. In case a child gets a fever, and the symptoms include cold, cough, sore throat, diarrhea or vomiting, it is advisable to contact the pediatrician immediately. However, it must be kept in mind that children may get a fever from several other sources, and COVID-19 alone should not be considered the reason behind the illness. The consulting pediatrician will check the child and diagnose basis the symptoms and their severity. 

Although doctors believe that the severity of COVID-19 is milder compared to adults, it does not mean that it will not have a severe health impact on the child. When a child suffers from flu, the most common symptoms are cough, cold and runny nose, fatigue and body ache, and sore throat but only in rare scenarios, would he or she suffer from shortness of breath, diarrhoea or vomiting. Parents must check frequently for other symptoms like feeling nausea, loss of taste, appetite, and smell and in some cases, gastric problems. You should visit Manipal Hospitals for Children vaccination in Whitefield, safeguarding them from other flu.

The Flu Shot

There could be cases when children might not develop any symptoms, but still be infected with COVID-19 and be at risk of developing complications due to delayed diagnosis and treatment. To avoid such situations, parents must insist on wearing masks while stepping out in public, maintain hygiene and wash hands frequently and limit social gatherings.   

The other significant signs to consider is to get flu shots to decrease the chances of having flu and avoid health complications, if not provide complete protection against Influenza. Health experts have been continuously harping on the fact that while we wait for COVID-19 vaccines to be ready, flu shots can provide primary protection against seasonal viral fevers or other respiratory problems, especially for people with low immunity, lung disorders and others who are vulnerable to contracting flu or coronavirus. 

Flu caused by the influenza viruses affects the respiratory system and can result in causing health complications including pneumonia, ear infections, sinus among both adults and children. COVID-19, despite its many disastrous outcomes, has brought back attention to personal hygiene to help prevent diseases that can be caused due to lack of it. 

The flu shot will not only reduce the chances of contracting the flu virus this season but will also reduce the risk of COVID-19. To ensure maximum protection, ensure that your child is given the flu vaccine at the earliest. 

Precautions to help avoid infections

While scientists are yet to establish their findings of the spread of coronavirus and its impact on children, it is important to maintain regular hygiene measures, take precautions and go for wellness check-ups and stay abreast about necessary vaccinations, especially the flu shot. 

This is the right time to inculcate and educate your child about good hygiene practices like washing hands properly and covering the mouth especially after coughing or sneezing, using sanitizers after touching commonly touched objects, and maintaining physical distancing in any social gathering. Few other things that will help: 

  • Teach your child to use disposable tissue while sneezing and covering the mouth while coughing. The tissues must be disposed of in a closed waste bin immediately. They must wash their hands with soap and water or use sanitizer after disposal of the tissue. 

  • To ensure hygiene at home, clean and wash your child’s toys, commonly touched objects and surfaces at least once or twice a day. 

  • Ensure that your child consumes a nutritious, healthy and balanced diet with citrus fruits and vegetables rich in zinc, vitamins C and D and stays hydrated. 

  • Stay in contact with your child’s school, teachers and administration for updates to stay informed and to seek any kind of guidance whenever necessary. 

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