It’s sunny, hot and muggy – the perfect time to make an appointment for your child’s flu shot! Protecting your child from influenza can help in so many ways, from as simple as not missing school days to as serious as saving someone’s life – even your own child’s.
Parents have questions about vaccines, and we here at Alzein Pediatrics are here to answer them. Let’s discuss the what, why, who, what, how and when of getting your child protected from the flu.
What is influenza?
The flu is not a cold. Influenza is a respiratory illness with symptoms that appear suddenly, such as fatigue, a cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, headaches, muscle aches and body aches. Children may vomit and experience diarrhea; they may or may not have a fever.
Why should my child get the vaccinated against the flu?
While it’s true that most people who get influenza recover in several days, serious complications do occur. Your child could develop sinus infections or ear infections. Your child could also develop much more serious conditions, such as bacterial pneumonia, myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart, encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain, or inflammation of muscle tissues. Respiratory failure or kidney failure is also possible and can lead to sepsis. If your child already has asthma or heart condition, the flu can worsen these conditions.
Who should get the flu shot?
Any child – and adult – older than 6 months old be vaccinated if they are able. Protecting your older children not only helps your infant avoid the flu, it also reduces the risk for any children in your community who cannot be immunized and any at-risk grandparents or other seniors who visit your children. On the flip side of that – your children are protected if adults bring the flu virus to them.
Your child should especially get the flu vaccine if they have a history of respiratory illnesses like asthma or bronchitis.
Who should NOT get the flu shot?
- children younger than 6 months
- anyone allergic to the vaccine or any of its ingredients. If you’re not sure, ask your Alzein medical professional to help check your child’s health record.
- children with egg allergies
How is the flu vaccine administered?
In the 2016-2017 flu season, the vaccine is available only as an injection. After the injection, usually in the upper arm or thigh, there may be soreness or redness at the spot, with the possibility of a slight fever and muscle aches. If any of these symptoms are severe enough to concern you, call us.
When should I make an appointment?
Now! We know it may seem early, but because the influenza vaccine can take up to two weeks to be fully effective, getting inoculated now means your child will be protected when the flu season begins in October. Click HERE or call 708-424-7600 to make an appointment.
Alzein Pediatric Associates wants to be sure your child is protected throughout flu season – October to May. If you have any questions about the flu, the vaccine or your child’s health, we are always happy to help!