While COVID-19 is at the forefront of our minds this year, we can’t forget to guard against the flu. To protect your child and the people around them, flu shots for kids are important. Cases of the influenza virus are diagnosed year-round, but peak flu season typically occurs during the fall and winter from November to March.
6 Important Tips about Flu Shots for Kids
Whether or not to vaccinate can be a hot-button issue among parents. Here at Wake Forest Pediatrics, we believe that everyone who is physically able to get vaccinated against the flu, so here are 6 things you need to know about flu shots for kids:
1. Get Vaccinated Early
The American Academy of Pediatrics urges parents to get their children vaccinated as soon as possible. Children should ideally receive the shot by the end of October. But if November creeps up on you, remember it’s better late than never.
2. Don’t Forget About Babies
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the flu shot for all children ages 6 months and older who do not have contraindications. If your child is under the age of 8 and receiving the vaccine for the first time, he or she may require two doses of the vaccine given four weeks apart.
3. Get the Facts about Injections and Nasal Sprays
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends the flu shot as the first choice for children. The nasal spray vaccine may be used this year for children who would not otherwise receive the flu shot, as long as they are 2 years of age or older and healthy without an underlying medical condition. For instance, if a child refuses the flu shot, or if the physician’s office runs out of the injected vaccine, the nasal spray would be appropriate.
4. Remember Vaccination is Protection, Not a Guarantee
Keep in mind, the flu shot is not a guarantee that your child will not contract the virus. Medical researchers do their best to predict which strain(s) will be the most prevalent each year, but it is not 100% effective. Your child may be exposed to the virus before antibodies develop from the shot (which takes about two weeks), exposed to a strain not included in that year’s seasonal flu vaccine, or have other health and age factors that decrease the shot’s effectiveness.
5. Flu Shots for Kids Can Help Manage Symptoms
For those who do contract the virus despite receiving the flu shot, it can still work to reduce the severity of symptoms and help your child recover more quickly. Most flu hospitalizations and deaths are caused by complications that result from the symptoms, like the progression to pneumonia. Getting the flu shot will help your child develop the antibodies he or she needs to fight off the virus.
6. Vaccination Protects Everyone
The flu shot is particularly important for young children, older adults, and those with already compromised immune systems. There are still, however, people who are unable to receive the vaccine for health reasons. To prevent a widespread outbreak, it is important for everyone who is able to receive the flu shot to actually get it.
Contact Wake Forest Pediatrics
The providers at Wake Forest Pediatrics strive to improve patient care by strengthening the patient-doctor relationship, providing open communication, and working as a team for a comprehensive approach to medical care. We will ensure your child receives the best preventive care possible, including immunizations. To talk to our team about a plan of care for your child, call our Wake Forest office at 919-556-4779 or our Knightdale office at 919-266-5059 to make an appointment.