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Saturday, 8 September 2018

Beat the Flu #MomVsFlu

My teen son is busy preparing for exams. I ensure he gets good rest and nutrition. He is healthy enough but prone to frequent attacks of cold and cough. I hope he doesn't catch the dreaded viral that seems to be affecting everyone with the changing season. 
Hmm, when I think back, I remember he was virtually born with a runny nose! 

In the last week of my pregnancy I was down with a severe bout of flu. I was horribly tired, with a constant sinus headache, aching limbs, nose blocks, well the entire package deal that comes with a flu attack! I avoided taking any medicines and went through labor in that condition itself. The baby, my son was thankfully born all normal! But within half a day I noticed the baby had trouble breathing while he was trying to feed. He'd contracted the rotten flu from me! I can't tell you what a trying ten days followed with sleepless nights and constant worrying over the tiny infant's health while I myself was still suffering from it! Eventually we both got better, after the pediatrician prescribed safe medication for us.

Back to the present, all these memories of the past came rushing back at me as I attended a blogger's event aimed at creating awareness and enlightening mothers about tackling influenza - MomVsFlu. It made me wish the flu vaccine had come into the picture back then! It could have saved me and my baby from having to suffer from all the misery of the nasty flu attack! 

The event had an eloquent, expert panel comprising pediatrician Dr Mukesh Gupta and gynaecologist Dr Uday Pai explaining various aspects of an influenza attack, ways to combat it while busting some myths as well!
Most of us dismiss a flu attack as just the "common cold" when in fact they are both not the same. 

So what is a Flu?
The Flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza virus A/B/C. A flu attack can be mild to severe depending on the person's immunity. Flu spreads by touching, coughing, sneezing by flu-affected person. Closed indoor air-conditioned environments trigger easier spread of the flu virus.
Symptoms can be mild/high fever, chills, runny/stuffy nose, sore throat, muscle aches, headaches and tiredness. Simply put, these are symptoms that can put child/adult in sheer misery as long as the flu lasts.
Flu symptoms like tiredness and headache are more troublesome for children.
With the growing menace of the H1N1/Swine flu virus which can gain epidemic proportions, it becomes all the more important to monitor seemingly innocent symptoms like these. 
People at risk to complications from influenza are pregnant women, children less than 5 years of age and elderly persons.

Pregnancy and Influenza
Dr Mukesh Gupta shared some insights on this aspect.
Immunity is low in pregnant women, their physiology of breathing is changed due to the developing foetus while the hormones affect lung secretions. These factors make an influenza attack on a pregnant women worrying. It is difficult to treat the expecting mother especially with restriction in medication that will be safe for both mother and foetus. Influenza in pregnancy can affect the mother's lung capacity leading to lower oxygen level supply to baby which may cause pre-term delivery while high grade fever in mother may lead to growth defects in baby. 

The Influenza Vaccine
They are also called flu shots/jabs and they protect against infection from the influenza virus. Since the virus keeps rapidly changing, yearly fresh vaccines are developed. The vaccine takes 4-6 weeks to develop complete immunity hence needs to be taken before an epidemic like swine flu breaks out.
The best time to take these shots would be in the months of April-May-June. In a home with babies or small children, preferably go in for a 'Samuhik' vaccination says Dr Pai so that the entire family including the babies' caretakers is protected by the vaccine.

Dr Mukesh Gupta suggests women to take the flu vaccine as a part of the pre-conceptual planning, because only a healthy body can bring a healthy baby. But if one misses out the vaccine at that stage, one can still take the vaccine safely at any point of the pregnancy. The vaccine is completely safe for the breast-feeding mothers too. 

Bollywood diva Genelia Deshmukh who graced the occasion, supports the initiative of Mothers Against Influenza (MAI)
She strongly urges all mothers to go from being Worriers to Warriors by simply talking to their pediatricians and gynaecologists to know more about influenza and staying protected with the vaccine.

Doesn't it make more sense to prevent an illness rather than treating it?
We as mothers need to make informed decisions to protect our family from becoming frequent victims to flu attacks, falling sick and needlessly suffering, especially when it is easily avoidable! 
Worldwide the flu vaccine is widely prescribed annually to combat the seasonal attack by the unfriendly flu virus. It is time we take cognizance of this fact and equip ourselves to give our dear family a flu-free life. Every pregnant lady and every mother needs to be aware of this vaccine which can make life so much better and worry-free! 
Lets go #MomVsFlu, shall we?

I urge you to take a look at this credible resource for more information on Influenza:

To find a vaccinating doctor in your locality you could simply check out this link:

I attended a discussion on influenza awareness facilitated by Abbott India Limited. 
Any opinion expressed in this blog is my personal opinion and not the opinion of Abbott 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. 

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­­Copyright © 2018 KALA RAVI

Thursday, 6 September 2018

Get Smart or Not

"Interesting times we live in. Everyday is a learning experience; don't you agree, Nik?" Nik of course had his nose buried deep inside the sports column. 
Nina continued reading the article that had caught her attention. 

Children who lie turn out smarter

'Hmm, I wonder if I should try this technique with the kids. All the fat fibbers at work are after all sitting cozily at the HQ while cracking the whip on us, poor slaves. Maybe their moms already knew about this stuff and started training them early on....you can't become a sleaze-ball overnight, can you?'
Yes, Nina was convinced. This fact of life had been staring her in the face since ages...if only she'd been smart enough to fathom it or her mother had been. 
Little Johnny who lied to his Papa had it right, that's how you got the sugar! 
'The path to sugar or success is not sweet', she thought grimly and wondered how to go about smartening her two boys with her new-found wisdom.
"Neel, Varun, come here," she called, adding, "look what I got for you." 'That should bring them out of their room in no time,' smiling at her own little deviousness.
The boys skipped upto her in a jiffy. "Look guys, you know how I've been forever telling you never to lie, how you'd be committing a sin every time you lied and getting closer to hell? Well, forget that...I was lying. I want you to feel free to lie, in fact it would be good if you can make a habit of it. I read an article in paper today. Apparently, lying makes you smarter and I seriously think you guys need some help in that department. You get me?" she paused as she saw the clueless look on their faces.
"Mummy you want us to play April fool?" Varun asked doubtfully.
"No Varun that's not what I meant. You see, whenever you're caught in a tight spot, think of the best lie you can come up with and use it to set yourself free. 
Hmm, let's see, imagine if you played a prank at school and the teacher caught you, what would you do Neel?"
"I never play pranks, well no one in our class does, you wouldn't either if you had someone like Sheela miss as your class teacher," Neel replied feelingly.
"Oh, I just asked you to imagine the situation and tell me what you would do, that's all." Throwing a disappointed look at her elder offspring she continued, "Okay, you tell me Varun, what would you do if you played a prank like throwing chalk at say Anju miss while her back was turned and she caught you?" Nina asked encouragingly.
"But ma, our teachers use board marker pens only, where would I get chalk from?" Varun wisely enquired.
"Say you threw an eraser at her and got caught, then what?" she waited hopefully.
"I doubt if an eraser would bother Anju miss too much. In fact I don't think even an earthquake would make her pause while she is talking about,'What Books and Burials tell us'," Varun groaned.
'Aarghh!! What is it with these idiots? Am I too late?' Nina wondered worriedly.
Nik saw the serious meeting in session and tried to sidle past unnoticed...unsuccessfully. 
"Ah, can I get some help here Daddy?" Nina called.
"What have they done now? Varun you lost your compass box again? Neel how many times have I told you turn in your homework in time?" Nik said with as much indignation as he could muster.
"No, no, no! It's nothing they've done. It's something new I am trying to teach them. A new way of tackling sticky situations. Here, read this article and tell me if I am not onto something. We've been going about it all wrong."
"Hmm, interesting...," Nik said as he looked up after reading the piece.
"Okay, I think I have an idea how to go about this," Nina snapped her fingers excitedly.
"Nik, I have to confess something first," Nina announced with a sidelong conspiratorial wink at him. "I got a large tear in the saree I borrowed from Renuka for last week's party. That saree is a designer one and I think it costs a bomb. What should I do? What do I tell her?" she waited eagerly for Nik to cue in on her plan.
"Didn't you wear a gown for that party, the red one that makes you look fat?" Nik remarked and wondered why Nina was winking at him with the kids around.
"Oh, maybe I wore the saree last month, but tell me what should I do?" again winking at him.
"Last month we were away on our holiday, don't you remember?" Nik was having these rather accurate memory recaps while Nina glared at him.
"No, I got it wrong," Nina said as she attempted to salvage her plan. "I wore it six months back for the wedding at Pondicherry and the saree tore while I was ironing it, I am sure now, tell me Nik, what should I tell Renuka," Nina cried exasperatedly.
"Mummy wore Lina aunty's lehenga for that wedding, didn't she?" Neel piped.
"Yes, but Lina aunty looked prettier in Mummy's saree, didn't she? Varun chipped in.
"Boys, boys, come now, I agree Mummy wore that purple lehenga but she looked so beautiful in that, look...I even took our selfie with her wearing that one," and Nik proceeded to scroll down six months worth pictures in his phone gallery. 
"Okay I give up!" Nina fumed as she marched away to the kitchen.
'Pah! Me trying to teach this family to lie and make them smarter...they can't lie to save their lives! Raja Harishchandra would have been proud to know them. Pack of losers, I am stuck trying to save!' 
"Mummy you said you got something for us when you called us?"
"I lied!" 
"Nina, how much do you think that saree costs?"
"My sanity!"


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Disclaimer: All the characters in the Nina's World series are fictional, any resemblance to anyone living or dead is purely coincidental and unintentional.

­­Copyright © 2018 KALA RAVI