All You Need To Know About Flu And Its Vaccine

It was recently reported that there has been an increase in the number of acute upper respiratory infections seen by polyclinics in July as compared to the month before with doctors recommending yearly flu vaccinations. Flu infections are common so it’s always better to stay safe, particularly if you have small children. We got in touch with Dr Kevin Chua of Drs Chua & Partners to share with us more about flu, how to manage it and when vaccinations are advised.

Dr Kevin Chua:

Flu infections are caused by Influenza virus types A, B and C with the former two responsible for seasonal outbreaks. In Singapore, the virus season follows the Southern Hemisphere.

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Symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, joint and muscle aches and pains and fatigue.

Small children may not always be able to verbalise how they feel. If your child is feeding well and is otherwise playing and going about his activities normally, hydrate your child well and see your doctor if you are still concerned.

Seek urgent medical attention if your child displays the following warning signs:

  • Breathing difficulty
  • Bluish Skin colour
  • Fever with a rash
  • Not drinking enough fluids
  • Not waking up or not interacting
  • Being so irritable that he/she does not want to be held

Spread is easy but can be managed or contained.

You can help contain the spread of the infection by taking a few simple steps:

  • Wash your hands regularly. This is true for many infections. You may also consider using hand sanitisers.
  • Cover your nose and mouth when you sneeze or cough. This helps to contain the droplet spray that inevitably happens. Use a tissue if you want to avoid contaminating your hands.
  • Avoid crowded spaces. Flu spreads more easily wherever people tend to congregate – in cinemas, school, office buildings. If you are sick, see a doctor and follow the advice given to you.
  • Flu vaccines are readily available from your General Practitioner. This is updated regularly so be sure to vaccinate yourself on an annual basis. Remember that the vaccine takes two weeks to take effect so plan ahead if you are travelling.

You should vaccinate your child if he/she is:

  • Aged six months to less than five years.
  • Suffers from a chronic disorder of the lung or heart, including asthma.
  • Requires regular medical follow-up or hospitalisation during the preceding year due to chronic diseases such as Diabetes, kidney, liver or blood diseases.
  • Is taking regular aspirin therapy.

Getting sick does not always mean you have the flu virus though. The majority of infections are caused by the common cold. Some practices will offer a simple test to determine if you really do indeed have the flu.

Partly adapted from details found on this website.

Drs Chua & Partners (AV) Pte Ltd is a family clinic located at Blk 125 Bt Merah Lane 1, #01-174 (Tel: +65 6377 3179). Find out more at their website here

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