Get The Flu ShotPosted: October 15, 2021
The flu season is upon us. Flu season typically lasts from late fall through early spring. It takes about two weeks for our immune systems to respond and offer protection after vaccination. Ideally, we should be vaccinated before the virus starts circulating around the community. This means the best time to get the flu shot is NOW.
We know that parents have several questions about the flu shot. We sat down with Dr. Robert Eiseman a general pediatrician at Kronenberg, Tsiu, Eiseman and Shahbaz to answer some common questions about the flu vaccine.
Why should my child get the flu shot?
A timely influenza vaccination:
- decreases the chance of catching the flu, including the concerns of having influenza & Covid-19 at the same time
- decreases the severity of the infection if your child becomes sick, which decreases the chance of adding another patient to a hospital that may be overcrowded already
- decreases the spread of flu to others who may be more at risk for complications and/or cannot receive the vaccine
If your child gets the flu, there is also a strong social impact with:
- missing approximately one week of school
- a parent missing (or decreasing their productivity of) one week of work (or more if they catch the infection)
- spending money on medications like Tamiflu and other medications for treating the symptoms
Will the shot give my child the flu?
No. The flu shot is very safe and well tolerated. It’s recommended for everyone who is 6 months of age and older. Some people report having mild reactions to the vaccine. The most common side effects are soreness, redness, tenderness or swelling where the shot was given. Low-grade fever, headache and muscle aches also may occur. If any of these reactions occur, they usually begin soon after the shot and only last 1-2 days.
The vaccine is also very safe in pregnant women and breastfeeding moms, and it’s important for those two groups to get vaccinated because that may be the only protection that the baby gets.
Where can I get the flu shot?
Your pediatrician’s office will be able to give your child a vaccine. Simply give them a call and request a vaccine-only appointment.
Can my child still get the flu if they’ve had the shot?
Yes. It is not a perfect vaccine so you can still get the flu even if you have had the shot, but often the illness is more mild if you have had the shot. The flu shot decreases the risk that you would need to be in the hospital for the flu. The flu shot has been shown to prevent deaths in children from influenza.
Does my child need to get the flu vaccine if they wear a mask and social distance?
Yes. Wearing a mask and physical distancing can help protect you and others from respiratory viruses, like flu and the virus that causes COVID-19. However, the best way to reduce your risk of flu illness and its potentially serious complications is for everyone 6 months and older to get a flu vaccine each year. By getting a flu vaccine, you may also be protecting people around you who are more vulnerable to serious flu complications.
Can my child get a COVID-19 vaccine and a flu vaccine at the same time?
Yes, your child can get a COVID-19 vaccine and a flu vaccine at the same time if they are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
Will a flu vaccine protect my child against COVID-19?
Flu vaccines are not designed to protect against COVID-19. Flu shots reduce the risk of flu illness, hospitalization and death. Likewise, getting a COVID-19 vaccine is the best protection against COVID-19, but those vaccines are not designed to protect against flu.