Get The Flu ShotPosted: September 30, 2019
Get the flu shot
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 get vaccinated before the virus starts circulating around the community.
Thus, it’s time for your child’s flu shot. Because some children from 6 months to 8 years old require 2 doses of the vaccine, administered about a month apart, it’s advisable to go ahead and get the first dose as soon as possible, so that the second can be given before the end of October.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that children 6 months to 8 years old who are being vaccinated for the first time, or who have only previously received a single dose of the vaccine, receive two doses.
Children who have previously gotten two doses will only need one this season.
Why is vaccination so important?
Last year’s flu season was categorized by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as moderate in severity, but it broke records in terms of length, with high numbers of flu activity for 21 weeks. Even if the season was milder, the flu is not just a bad cold.
A total of 136 influenza-associated pediatric deaths were reported to the CDC last season, and an estimated 36,000-61,000 people died from the flu last year.
Le Bonheur Pediatrician-in-Chief Jon McCullers, MD, answers commonly asked questions below:
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 vaccine?
Your pediatrician’s office will be able to give your child a vaccine. If you have questions about the availability of the nasal spray flu vaccine, please call ahead.
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.
When should we get our flu shots?
The CDC recommends that you get your flu shot before the end of October. If you forget, that doesn’t mean you’re off the hook! The shot will offer you protection in as little as two weeks, and the season could last until the end of spring (May) next year.