What Should Parents Know About the Flu Vaccine This Year?
Every year as the weather turns cooler, parents start to consider the flu vaccine, for their kids and themselves. There has been a lot of controversy surrounding vaccines in general over the past decade, and some parents feel like they would never skip a year of the flu shot, while other parents may be more unsure.
The flu leads to millions of people being sick each year, and unfortunately, hundreds of thousands being hospitalized and even tens of thousands of people dying. The flu can be especially dangerous for older people, people with weakened immune systems, and also for children.
So, if you’re a parent, particularly one who likes to approach health for your family in a more holistic way, what should you know about this year’s flu shot?
First and foremost, while the flu shot is relatively inexpensive, there are opportunities to save even more money if you do choose to get it for your family.
You can browse a program like SingleCare, which is a prescription and health services discount company and you may be able to find significant savings and coupons near you.
In many states you can get the flu shot at a local pharmacy, however, in some states, pharmacists can’t provide immunizations in children under a certain age unless there’s a nurse. You may have to take your child to your pediatrician, depending on where you live.
What Do Doctors Recommend?
According to The American Academy of Pediatrics as well as the Centers For Disease Control, there is a strong recommendation that children and teens who are six months and older get the yearly flu shot. Young children are one of the demographics that are at the highest risk of developing complications if they do get the flu, as well as children who have conditions like diabetes and asthma.
Doctors also believe that the shot is the best way to prevent the flu even above things like hand washing.
There tends to be the misconception that your child will get the flu from the shot, but this isn’t the case. There can be some mild symptoms, particularly in kids under two such as a slight fever or sleepiness, but children don’t get the full-blown flu from the shot.
When Should You Get It?
The best thing to do is get the flu shot as early as possible because flu season starts in September.
Parents should also know that the recommendation for kids younger than nine who are getting the flu shot for the first time should get two doses, taken a month apart from one another.
The latest doctors recommend children having the shot is by the end of October.
Another common question parents have about the shot is just how effective it really is.
According to medical experts, the shot is around 60 percent effective, and if a child is vaccinated and gets the flu, it’s usually significantly milder than it would be otherwise in someone who wasn’t vaccinated.
Can Kids With Egg Allergies Get the Shot?
In the past, it was recommended that children and people with allergies to eggs not get the flu shot, but now that’s not the case. According to newly released CDC guidelines, people with egg allergies can receive the flu shot, and they don’t have to be monitored for thirty minutes after getting it.
With that being said, if your child does have an egg allergy you should let the person administering the shot know.
Who Shouldn’t Get a Flu Shot?
Doctors’ recommendations state that most people need a flu shot, but some group’s need is higher than others. Babies, children with asthma and lung diseases, weak immune system, chronic diseases and hear issues are highly advised to get a shot.
On the other hand, children who aren’t six months old yet, or who have had a past allergic reaction to a flu shot should not get one. In some cases, children with Guillain-Barre Syndrome are advised by their doctor not to have a flu shot, but this should be based on guidance from the doctor.
What Else Should You Know?
There are a few other things to know about the flu shot this year. The first is that a nasal spray is no longer an option because it was found to be ineffective, so shots are the only option.
Also, many parents are concerned about the use of the preservative thimerosal in vaccines that is used to avoid contamination. This was one of the things that was studied in terms of a possible link to autism, but the medical community says first and foremost, there are no scientific links showing this is true, but also the flu vaccines that children receive usually don’t have this preservative in them anyway. If you want to be sure, you can ask the person administering the shot for a preservative-free version.