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Should I Get My Child a Flu Vaccine?

Overview

Every year, influenza or commonly known as flu sickens millions and hospitalizes thousands of people. Worse, it also causes tens of thousands of death. Children younger than 5 years old are at high risk of developing serious flu-related complications. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that since 2010, between 7,000 and 28,000 children younger than 5 years old have been hospitalized for flu each year in the United States alone.

Influenza is not something that one should take for granted as this is not your common cold. Even though it is particularly dangerous and contagious, it is also preventable. A yearly flu vaccine is the best way to protect your child from influenza and its dangerous complications such as pneumonia, bronchitis, and asthma attacks.

I know you might be wondering as to the effectivity of a flu shot and if it is even safe for your child. So today, we’re going to list down the reasons as to why you should get your child a flu vaccine. But before we delve into that, let us first know more about the flu and its symptoms.

What is the Flu?

Influenza or flu is a viral infection that attacks the respiratory system. It infects the nose, throat, and sometimes the lungs. For most people, it resolves on its own, however, it can sometimes be dangerous and deadly. People who have flu often feel some of these symptoms:

  • Sore throat
  • Cough
  • Runny nose
  • Body aches
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

It is sometimes difficult to differentiate flu from the other viral or bacterial respiratory illnesses based on the symptoms that manifest on the person infected. There are tests that can be done in order to diagnose the flu. It is important to talk to a health professional about it.

Three Reasons Why Your Child Should Get a Flu Vaccine

  • It’s the best way to prevent the flu.

    There are several ways to ensure that your kids are safe from the flu. Flu viruses travel through the air in droplets when a person with the infection coughs or sneezes. It is possible for your child to inhale the droplets directly or pick up the germs from an object. Making sure that they wash their hands or staying away from people helps. However, they can’t wash their hands every second of the day or know when a person is sick. However, getting your child a flu shot reduces the risk of flu illness and it lessens the probability of hospitalization among children that might get the flu. It is important to note that even though the flu vaccine will lower the likelihood of getting sick, it is still possible to get the flu. However, it’s likely to be milder than if you weren’t vaccinated.

  • Flu shots reduce the high risk of developing serious flu complications.

    Children have a high risk of developing serious flu complications especially if they are younger than 5 years of age. Also, children who have certain chronic conditions such as heart disease, lung disease, and even diabetes can increase the probability of contracting flu. Flu shots reduce the risk of having the illness.

  • It prevents spreading the flu to family and friends.

    People with flu can spread the virus to other people up to about 6 feet away. As mentioned earlier, flu viruses spread mainly by droplets when people cough, sneeze or talk. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of those people who are nearby. Symptoms of flu can begin about two days after the virus enters the body. The crucial part is that a person may pass the flu without him knowing that he already has the illness. Some people can be infected will have no symptoms of the flu. Getting your child vaccinated will help prevent the spreading of the flue to family and friends.

Is the flu shot safe?

Flu shots can be given to children who are 6 months and older. Flu vaccines have a good safety record. Millions of Americans have safely received flu vaccines. Although it has side effects, they are generally mild and usually go away on their own within a few days.

Final Thoughts

Anyone can get flu, even those that are healthy and serious complications can actually occur at any age. The best protection you can give to your child against flu is through vaccination.

If you want to know more about flu and flu vaccinations, you can schedule a meeting with Dr. Glenn Matney. He is a board-certified pediatrician who specializes in baby development, toddler development, and child development. You can call at (760) 245-9363 or schedule your appointment today.