Posted on December 01, 2018

Young children under five years of age are prone to serious complications from the flu virus, said a press release by the Primary Health Care Corporation (PHCC) on Tuesday. 

The PHCC treated 622 confirmed cases of the different influenza virus subtypes (A and B) between October 10 and November 18. Dr Khalid Elawad, Health Protection manager at PHCC, said: “Parents should ensure that their young children are vaccinated as flu can be very dangerous. Children can be affected more than others due to the fact that their immune system is developing. Parents should know that the flu vaccine is safe for children under five.”

According to Dr Elawad, some children may experience mild side-effects, such as soreness or swelling in the arm where the flu shot is administered, muscle aches and headache, but these side effects are mild and short-lived. Dr Zienab Shehata, Family Medicine physician in the Communicable Disease Control section of the PHCC, said that the flu vaccine, which is currently available free of charge at 26 health centres, offers the best defense against getting flu and spreading it to others. “Getting vaccinated can reduce flu illnesses, doctor’s visits, missed school days and prevent flu-related hospitalisations and deaths in children,” Dr Shehata remarked.

In Qatar, flu season occurs in the fall and winter. While influenza viruses circulate year-round, most of the time flu activity peaks between October and February, but the activity can last as late as May. To help reduce the risk of catching or spreading the flu, PHCC is encouraging parents to ensure that children aged between 6 months and 5 years old are vaccinated.

source: Qatar Tribune