Flu can hit someone especially hard if a person’s immune system is already compromised by a chronic illness. Pregnant women are also at a greater risk of developing flu-related complications. Paul Bradbury
Flu can hit someone especially hard if a person’s immune system is already compromised by a chronic illness. Pregnant women are also at a greater risk of developing flu-related complications. Paul BraShow more

Do you need to take the flu vaccination this winter?

Those living in warmer climes will know that colds and flu appear to have little to do with actually being cold. In winter – when temperatures in the UAE are usually pleasant – many people get hit by the flu bug.

“The influenza virus survives better in colder and drier climates, and therefore is able to infect more people, especially those who spend more time indoors with the windows sealed,” explains Dr Waleed Mohamed, a general practitioner at Healthpoint in Abu Dhabi.

“They are more likely to breathe the same air as someone who has the flu, and thus contract the virus.”

Flu symptoms include fever, muscle aches, headaches, fatigue, sore throat and sometimes vomiting and diarrhoea. It usually lasts up to a couple of weeks, but can be dangerous to people with a compromised immune system. Many countries invest in a flu vaccine to keep more vulnerable people safe. It usually becomes available in October when the flu virus starts circulating, and is given at public and private clinics.

The Health Authority – Abu Dhabi recommends everyone get the vaccine during the flu season, especially those at high risk of flu-related complications or those caring for people who are at high risk.

Flu can hit someone especially hard if a person’s immune system is already compromised by a chronic illness. Pregnant women are also at a greater risk of developing flu-related complications.

“Certain people are at higher risk of complications from the flu, so it’s especially important that they get vaccinated,” says Mohamed. “For example, if you have conditions like asthma, diabetes, heart or lung disease, a weak immune system, HIV or cancer, it’s important you get the flu shot.” This also applies to women who are pregnant, or anyone over 50, he adds.

While healthy people would not, in theory, need the flu shot because the flu itself is unlikely to do any permanent damage, more people being vaccinated means a lower chance of vulnerable people catching the virus and suffering complications.

Dr Lyssette Cardona, chief of infectious diseases at the Medical Subspecialties Institute at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, says people with diabetes need to be aware of the flu shot.

“Should someone with diabetes get the flu, they are also more prone to flu-related complications, such as pneumonia, bronchitis, sinus infections and ear infections. To safeguard themselves, it is important that alongside the vaccine, they take proper steps to control their diabetes and live healthy lifestyles.”

She also advises diabetics to stay up-to-date with the pneumococcal vaccine as part of their diabetes management plan.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States reports that between 2010 and 2012 the flu vaccine reduced children’s risk of flu-related admission into the paediatric intensive care unit by 74 per cent. It also says in 2016 people who were 50 years and over and who received the vaccine reduced their risk of going into hospital with flu by more than half.

The most common vaccine is the trivalent flu vaccine, which contains three strains of the influenza virus and can be given to almost anyone older than six months.

People with a severe egg allergy should make sure the doctor or nurse is aware of this before they receive the vaccine (which must be administered in a medical setting with someone qualified to deal with severe reactions). This is because the trivalent shot is made using virus grown in eggs and includes a small amount of egg protein, which could trigger a reaction.

There is a misconception that getting the flu shot will give a person flu. It will not. But it is possible to experience flu-like symptoms for a number of reasons: some people react to the vaccine and experience muscle aches or a fever, one could catch influenza in the two-week window before immunity develops, or there is a mismatch between the viruses that the vaccine is protecting against and the viruses circulating in flu season.

“Your body requires two weeks to learn how to the fight the illness, so the earlier you get the vaccine during the season, the sooner you’ll be protected,” says Mohamed.

Unlike some other vaccines, one shot is not enough. Flu viruses evolve quickly, so last year’s vaccine is unlikely to offer protection again this year, and this year’s won’t offer protection next year. The body’s antibodies also decline over time, so it is important to top up the immunity.

Eating well is one way of boosting the natural immunity that helps the body fight any illness.

Cardona says: “With many of us leading a fast-paced life, paying close attention to our daily diets can fall on our list of priorities, making us prone to having a weaker immune system. A balanced intake of vitamins and minerals can keep our immune system healthy.”

She says if it’s not possible to eat fresh foods, try frozen foods without added sugar or sodium. “They are packed at their peak ripeness, maintaining similar nutritional value as their fresh counterparts.”

Contact your doctor to find out more about this year’s flu vaccine.


Founders: Sebastian Stefan, Sebastian Morar and Claudia Pacurar

Based: Dubai, UAE

Founded: 2014

Number of employees: 36

Sector: Logistics

Raised: $2.5 million

Investors: DP World, Prime Venture Partners and family offices in Saudi Arabia and the UAE

Three ways to get a gratitude glow

By committing to at least one of these daily, you can bring more gratitude into your life, says Ong.

  • During your morning skincare routine, name five things you are thankful for about yourself.
  • As you finish your skincare routine, look yourself in the eye and speak an affirmation, such as: “I am grateful for every part of me, including my ability to take care of my skin.”
  • In the evening, take some deep breaths, notice how your skin feels, and listen for what your skin is grateful for.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3

Director: James Gunn

Stars: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper

Rating: 4/5


Director: Nikhil Nagesh Bhat

Starring: Lakshya, Tanya Maniktala, Ashish Vidyarthi, Harsh Chhaya, Raghav Juyal

Rating: 4.5/5

Tell Me Who I Am

Director: Ed Perkins

Stars: Alex and Marcus Lewis

Four stars


Fujairah 130 for 8 in 20 overs

(Sandy Sandeep 29, Hamdan Tahir 26 no, Umair Ali 2-15)

Sharjah 131 for 8 in 19.3 overs

(Kashif Daud 51, Umair Ali 20, Rohan Mustafa 2-17, Sabir Rao 2-26)


Edinburgh: November 4 (unchanged)

Bahrain: November 15 (from September 15); second daily service from January 1

Kuwait: November 15 (from September 16)

Mumbai: January 1 (from October 27)

Ahmedabad: January 1 (from October 27)

Colombo: January 2 (from January 1)

Muscat: March 1 (from December 1)

Lyon: March 1 (from December 1)

Bologna: March 1 (from December 1)

Source: Emirates

Visit Abu Dhabi culinary team's top Emirati restaurants in Abu Dhabi

Yadoo’s House Restaurant+& Cafe

For the karak and Yoodo's house platter with includes eggs, balaleet, khamir and chebab bread.

Golden Dallah

For the cappuccino, luqaimat and aseeda.

Al Mrzab Restaurant

For the shrimp murabian and Kuwaiti options including Kuwaiti machboos with kebab and spicy sauce.

Al Derwaza

For the fish hubul, regag bread, biryani and special seafood soup. 

Disturbing facts and figures

51% of parents in the UAE feel like they are failing within the first year of parenthood

57% vs 43% is the number of mothers versus the number of fathers who feel they’re failing

28% of parents believe social media adds to the pressure they feel to be perfect

55% of parents cannot relate to parenting images on social media

67% of parents wish there were more honest representations of parenting on social media

53% of parents admit they put on a brave face rather than being honest due to fear of judgment

Source: YouGov

Company Profile

Name: HyveGeo
Started: 2023
Founders: Abdulaziz bin Redha, Dr Samsurin Welch, Eva Morales and Dr Harjit Singh
Based: Cambridge and Dubai
Number of employees: 8
Industry: Sustainability & Environment
Funding: $200,000 plus undisclosed grant
Investors: Venture capital and government

Anti-semitic attacks

The annual report by the Community Security Trust, which advises the Jewish community on security , warned on Thursday that anti-Semitic incidents in Britain had reached a record high.

It found there had been 2,255 anti-Semitic incidents reported in 2021, a rise of 34 per cent from the previous year.

The report detailed the convictions of a number of people for anti-Semitic crimes, including one man who was jailed for setting up a neo-Nazi group which had encouraged “the eradication of Jewish people” and another who had posted anti-Semitic homemade videos on social media.

What is a black hole?

1. Black holes are objects whose gravity is so strong not even light can escape their pull

2. They can be created when massive stars collapse under their own weight

3. Large black holes can also be formed when smaller ones collide and merge

4. The biggest black holes lurk at the centre of many galaxies, including our own

5. Astronomers believe that when the universe was very young, black holes affected how galaxies formed

Company Profile

Name: Direct Debit System
Started: Sept 2017
Based: UAE with a subsidiary in the UK
Industry: FinTech
Funding: Undisclosed
Investors: Elaine Jones
Number of employees: 8


Name: SmartCrowd
Started: 2018
Founder: Siddiq Farid and Musfique Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech / PropTech
Initial investment: $650,000
Current number of staff: 35
Investment stage: Series A
Investors: Various institutional investors and notable angel investors (500 MENA, Shurooq, Mada, Seedstar, Tricap)


Director: Sudha Kongara Prasad

Starring: Akshay Kumar, Radhika Madan, Paresh Rawal

Rating: 2/5


July 5, 1994: Jeff Bezos founds Cadabra Inc, which would later be renamed to Amazon.com, because his lawyer misheard the name as 'cadaver'. In its earliest days, the bookstore operated out of a rented garage in Bellevue, Washington

July 16, 1995: Amazon formally opens as an online bookseller. Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought becomes the first item sold on Amazon

1997: Amazon goes public at $18 a share, which has grown about 1,000 per cent at present. Its highest closing price was $197.85 on June 27, 2024

1998: Amazon acquires IMDb, its first major acquisition. It also starts selling CDs and DVDs

2000: Amazon Marketplace opens, allowing people to sell items on the website

2002: Amazon forms what would become Amazon Web Services, opening the Amazon.com platform to all developers. The cloud unit would follow in 2006

2003: Amazon turns in an annual profit of $75 million, the first time it ended a year in the black

2005: Amazon Prime is introduced, its first-ever subscription service that offered US customers free two-day shipping for $79 a year

2006: Amazon Unbox is unveiled, the company's video service that would later morph into Amazon Instant Video and, ultimately, Amazon Video

2007: Amazon's first hardware product, the Kindle e-reader, is introduced; the Fire TV and Fire Phone would come in 2014. Grocery service Amazon Fresh is also started

2009: Amazon introduces Amazon Basics, its in-house label for a variety of products

2010: The foundations for Amazon Studios were laid. Its first original streaming content debuted in 2013

2011: The Amazon Appstore for Google's Android is launched. It is still unavailable on Apple's iOS

2014: The Amazon Echo is launched, a speaker that acts as a personal digital assistant powered by Alexa

2017: Amazon acquires Whole Foods for $13.7 billion, its biggest acquisition

2018: Amazon's market cap briefly crosses the $1 trillion mark, making it, at the time, only the third company to achieve that milestone


Company name: Almouneer
Started: 2017
Founders: Dr Noha Khater and Rania Kadry
Based: Egypt
Number of staff: 120
Investment: Bootstrapped, with support from Insead and Egyptian government, seed round of
$3.6 million led by Global Ventures

Company profile

Company name: Fasset
Started: 2019
Founders: Mohammad Raafi Hossain, Daniel Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech
Initial investment: $2.45 million
Current number of staff: 86
Investment stage: Pre-series B
Investors: Investcorp, Liberty City Ventures, Fatima Gobi Ventures, Primal Capital, Wealthwell Ventures, FHS Capital, VN2 Capital, local family offices


UAE’s remaining fixtures in World Cup qualification R2
Oct 8: Malaysia (h)
Oct 13: Indonesia (a)
Nov 12: Thailand (h)
Nov 17: Vietnam (h)

Dengue fever symptoms

High fever (40°C/104°F)
Severe headache
Pain behind the eyes
Muscle and joint pains
Swollen glands

While you're here
On Instagram: @WithHopeUAE

Although social media can be harmful to our mental health, paradoxically, one of the antidotes comes with the many social-media accounts devoted to normalising mental-health struggles. With Hope UAE is one of them.
The group, which has about 3,600 followers, was started three years ago by five Emirati women to address the stigma surrounding the subject. Via Instagram, the group recently began featuring personal accounts by Emiratis. The posts are written under the hashtag #mymindmatters, along with a black-and-white photo of the subject holding the group’s signature red balloon.
“Depression is ugly,” says one of the users, Amani. “It paints everything around me and everything in me.”
Saaed, meanwhile, faces the daunting task of caring for four family members with psychological disorders. “I’ve had no support and no resources here to help me,” he says. “It has been, and still is, a one-man battle against the demons of fractured minds.”
In addition to With Hope UAE’s frank social-media presence, the group holds talks and workshops in Dubai. “Change takes time,” Reem Al Ali, vice chairman and a founding member of With Hope UAE, told The National earlier this year. “It won’t happen overnight, and it will take persistent and passionate people to bring about this change.”


Get the highlights of our exciting Weekend edition every Saturday

      By signing up, I agree to The National's privacy policy