Do we know enough about Influenza?

A couple of weeks ago, I along with a few bloggers were invited to attend an incredibly interesting and informative seminar organised by MAI (Mothers against Influenza) to raise awareness on Influenza.

Albeit, I’m from a medical background, I realised that my personal awareness on this topic was lacking. Not that I didn’t know about it but honestly, I wasn’t aware how serious it is. I’m pretty sure, a lot of moms out there are not aware of the gravity of this disease too.

But yes, I remember diligently taking this vaccine during my pregnancy and in fact, recently, less than a month ago, my 12 months old girl got vaccinated too. It’s highly recommended to vaccinate kids under 2 years of age against it since they’re at a risk of getting flu.

Doctors on the panel- Dr Uday Chopra (MD, DCH- Pediatrics) and Dr Mukesh Gupta (MD, ObGyn) interacted with us and shared some valuable information on this issue. We also had Genelia Deshmukh as the guest of honour who shared her personal experience and insights on vaccination and the importance of seeing and talking to your paediatrician regularly.

Coming back to Influenza, here’s some important information for you all, so that all of you moms are also well informed beforehand.

What is Influenza and how is it different from common cold?

Flu is a highly contagious disease which commonly spreads through coughing, sneezing, touching objects that are infected with virus etc. Did you know, it affects more than 10 million people per year in India itself? The most common organs that are affected by it are- the respiratory tract including nose, lungs and throat, which leaves the person with following symptoms:

Fever

Feverish chills

Cough

Runny nose

Sore throat

Body aches 

Head ache

Exhaustion 

Click here to reach the website of MAI (Mothers against Influenza) which is a credible source to get more information on Influenza.

Types of Influenza Viruses:

There are 3 types of influenza viruses: A, B and C. Type A and B cause seasonal epidemics almost every year while type C causes mild respiratory diseases.

Who are the people at high risk of developing Influenza?

  1. Children under 5 years of age

 Younger kids are more prone to being infected with the virus easily. 

It’s different from common cold and is generally more severe. Fever and chills are more common in Flu unlike cold.

Children having asthma, brain disorders, diabetes etc are at an increased risk of developing serious complications 

  1. Pregnant women 

Our body goes through tremendous hormonal and physical changes during pregnancy which often affects our immune system, making us more prone to falling sick.

Pregnancy can double the complications arising out of Influenza

It not only affects the mother, but also the health of unborn baby, it’s maturity and delivery too.

 

What are the preventative measures we moms can take?

-Get your baby who’s over 6 months, vaccinated before the onset of an epidemic. The best time to do it is before the reopening of school after summer vacation.

-Avoid stepping out with your baby who isn’t vaccinated during an epidemic.

-Not just the baby, take a samuhik approach- get the entire family vaccinated so that our shield against the disease is strong enough.

 

Important do’s and don’ts:

If you have flu like symptoms, get yourself checked immediately and avoid contact with people, especially kids. Keep a distance of more than 6 ft from them.

-Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze

-Wash your hands regularly throughout the day

-Monitor your illness and see your doctor every 24hrs

-Take proper medications, drink plenty of water and eat nutritious healthy meals every 2-3 hours.

 

See your doctor immediately if you’re showing any of these signs along with other flu symptoms:

Adults:

Breathlessness

Chest pain

Drowsiness

Fall in blood pressure 

Blood spots in cough

Bluish nails

 

Children:

Drowsiness 

Not feeding well

High and persistent fever

Convulsions 

Difficulty in breathing

 

Influenza vaccination:

Influenza vaccines are prepared to protect individuals from infections of flu viruses. Based on the viruses present in the environment, these vaccines are formulated twice a year. World Health Organisation recommends yearly vaccination against influenza for all people, especially those at a high risk of this disease. 

Doctor Mukesh Gupta emphasised on getting the vaccination during pregnancy. “Go take a flu vaccine, even before you plan pregnancy. Only a healthy body can bring a healthy baby, preconception vaccine is important.” To which Genelia Deshmukh agreed and added, “All mothers must go meet your paediatricians, gynaecologist and get all questions answered about flu and staying protected with vaccination.”

Dr Uday Pai gave a very valuable piece of advice. He said, “Vaccines may take 4 to 6 weeks to build complete immunity in your body, so you must take it before any epidemic like swine flu breaks out.”

This was my key takeaways from the seminar. Although my daughter is vaccinated but me and my husband never thought of getting ourselves vaccinated too. Hope this post is equally useful to all of you as me.

Note: Doctors who vaccinate can be found in every locality with a simple search by pin-code. If you’re looking for a doctor, click here to find one in your vicinity.

 

Disclaimer: I attended a discussion on influenza awareness facilitated by Abbott IndiaLimited. Any opinion expressed in this blog is my personal opinion and not the opinion ofAbbott India Limited. Abbott India Limited does not assume any liability for the content of the blog. The blog post is not meant to be a replacement for a doctor consultation, nor is it a medical recommendation or prescription of treatment for babies having Influenza. Any reader of this blog or their family members suffering from Influenza should specifically consult his/her doctor for the same and follow the suggested course of treatment.” 

 

How To Choose Toys To Make Your Kid Smarter?

“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.”

Benjamin Franklin

A child’s brains goes through a spellbinding period of development in the first three years. It produces a million neural connections every second, which means that the child observes and learns from each and every diminutive thing he comes across!

This learning doesn’t start when the child begins to talk or displays comprehension, but it begins right from Day 1!

Did you know? At birth, children have almost all the neurons they’ll ever have in their life. These neurons double in size by one year and reaches 80% of its adult volume by the time the child turns three!

Keeping in mind the pace at which their mental development takes place and the incredible amount of potential that they possess, it’s crucial for us to make each of their activities a learning experience for them.

According to researches, kids between the age of 1-3 prefer ‘functional play’ i.e. they like to play with the same toy again and again until they master the game and gain confidence to move on to the next toy. This phase is pivotal in encouraging ‘learning skills through play’.

Moreover, consider purchasing toys that grow with the baby. For example, as the baby grows and learns more concepts of one area, their toys should also get more advanced and challenging in that specific area. When practiced in this manner, their skills get sharpened and they master even complex concepts easily.

Skola, one of the most renowned toy brands, has a myriad of Montessori inspired toys for kids between 1-8 years of age. Most of their collection involves multi-sensory approach that has been proved effective in making kids better learners, problem solvers and analysts by improving their memory, fine motor and logical reasoning skills.

Types of incrementally challenging toys you can consider for your babies:

1. Toys that enhance their fine motor skills:

Stackers for young kids and toys involving complex hand manipulations and balancing for older kids– you’ll find a variety of toys that help not only in strengthening of smaller muscles but also improve their eye co-ordination and problem solving ability.

To buy an age-appropriate toy under this category, click here

2. Toys that teach about colours and shapes:

Toys like: Matching the other half of the given object/figure, understanding the intensity of colours, pairing similar objects based on their shapes etc. are some great options in this segment.

This learning will help them in identifying individual colours and geometric shapes and distinguishing them from one another. It’ll also help them understand that both of these are key attributes of all physical objects.

To buy an age-appropriate toy under this category, click here

3. Number games:

This is one of the key areas to work on because understanding of numbers early on sets a solid foundation for all the future arithmetic calculations.

Consider purchasing toys that help in visually associating numbers with physical objects, which thus makes the child understand that each number signifies a specific quantity.

To buy an age-appropriate toy under this category, click here

4. Word games:

Did you know? Babies begin to distinguish speech sounds by 10 months! The first stage of language development is preverbal communication- where they use gestures, cues and noises to get their message conveyed. Once they’re 1.5 years old, they begin to use specific words for specific things. In order to strengthen their vocabulary, frequently using complex words with phonograms helps a lot. Not just that, it sets a firm base for reading and writing and thus making the child confident in communication.

Games that include easy crosswords or word building activities are best for this age.

To buy an age-appropriate toy under this category, click here

5. Toys that focus on pattern formation:

Such toys help them identify similar objects, arrange them through logical reasoning and comprehend distinguished patterns. It expands their problem solving skills and makes them better analysts.

Toys like building blocks or puzzles are great choices for this learning.

To buy an age-appropriate toy under this category, click here

You don’t have to always sit with a book and a pen to teach, make learning fun by including it in all the activities that a child performs!

Thanks for stopping by and reading!

Happy parenting!

Love,

Elina

P.S. This is a sponsored post.

Image Courtesy: Skola’s Official Website

What Happened When I Kept My Phone Away While Nursing My Baby?

Long before I got pregnant, I made a list of things that I’d do when I breast-feed my baby— from talking to her and caressing her hair to reciting holy books and lullabies. And believe me, I did it all, for one complete month. And then, before I realised, I was aimlessly scrolling through my phone every time I nursed her. It slowly became a routine.

Every time she was hungry, I picked her up and began to nurse even without noticing her cues, looking at her face or seeing those pretty eyes.

As she grew, she learnt to play with my top, tried to pull my nose and put her fingers inside my mouth to touch my teeth, while I kept my self busy checking my notifications on Facebook and Instagram, watching random YouTube videos or simply checking deals on Shopping sites.

Honestly, deep down inside me, I hated myself and felt the guilt, but just like many other things we don’t like but still continue to do, this too became the same.

Soon I started to write parenting articles and the best time I could do that was when I nursed her. Albiet, my focus had changed and I was making more constructive use of this time, nonetheless, my actions remained the same.

Just like that, 2018 commenced. I was going through the resolutions made by people on the New Year’s Eve, and saw many people mention ‘Phone Detox’ as one of their goals. It was then it struck me, that I don’t need a complete detox, but there’s one thing that I really need to work on and that was- ‘Quality Nursing Time.’

I didn’t wait to jot it down in a planner or streamline my daily routine to work on it, but I chose to start immediately. That’s the thing about goals- you don’t always need to plan and wait for the right time, you just need to buckle up and start working on them as soon as possible.

After I made up my mind and it was time to nurse her, I held her in my arms and gave her a huge welcoming smile as I unbuttoned. She looked back at me with a twinkle in her eyes- the kind I’d never seen before. I realised how beautiful this little girl of mine was- so innocent and angelic. Throughout the nursing session I kept caressing her hair and read out lullabies and chants, just like I had planned to. I looked at her hands and noticed the cute dimples that she had below her fingers; I saw her face and noticed how it was full of enthusiasm; I saw her feet which constantly wiggled throughout. She continued to look at me and I noticed how the magic of breastmilk slowly worked and how beautifully she drifted off to sleep. Yes, that was my girl- the little squish that came out of me a couple of months ago, who was so delicate and tiny that she couldn’t even turn her head in the direction she wanted and here she is- all grown up and ready to walk independently. How quickly all these months flew by!

We often say kids grow up in the blink of an eye, but the truth is that we are so occupied in ourselves that we forget to notice them grow. Things like notifications, calls, shopping etc. can wait, we can do those when our little ones are asleep, but our children will never be this little again. They’ll never run to us to get a hug, they’ll never find joy in coming to us to get milk, they’ll never play peekaboo with our tshirts when they eat and they’ll probably never love us with the same pure feelings as they do today.

Someday in the future, we would scroll through their photos and miss these days! Why not cuddle and snuggle them as much we can before these lovely moments are gone?

Nursing our little ones is not just another mom-duty. It’s an unparalleled bond that we share which is like nothing else in the world. It’s like giving a part of yourself to your baby- the kind of nourishment and nurturing she will receive from no one ever! It’s therapeutic, not just for them but for us mothers too. Try to live in the moment- to feel the flow of liquid gold from your body to your baby’s and experience the magnificence. Try to make nursing sessions bonding times with your baby. Researchers have found that the strength of mothers emotional bond with the baby may trump all the other cautionary measures we take- like vaccinations, monthly check ups with the paediatrician etc., to help the baby thrive. A close attachment can prevent diseases, boost immunity and even enhance their IQ! Isn’t that amazing?

I’m still working on this and I urge you to try too! 🙂 I’m sure you’ll thank me for this.

Love,

Elina

(Just another mother who errs and learns)

P.S. Please excuse all the typos and errors. Wrote this while my little bundle of joy was sleeping. You know the time crunch we mothers have 🙈