Ten Things to Know About the Flu and Flu Vaccines for Children

Parents have the responsibility of acquiring reliable information about the seasonal flu vaccine for their children, a responsibility based on their children’s right to a healthy life. Keep in mind that contracting the flu virus can result in life-threatening complications especially for vulnerable children.

#1 Flu Complications Can Be Deadly

Children are at higher risk for the complications of the flu virus. According to a study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 40% of children who die due to flu-related complications have no other chronic health issues that could have increased their risks.

#2 Flu Complications Are Common

Children less than 2 years old have the highest risk for serious flu-related complications. Kids, especially those who are younger than 5 years, who have contracted the flu virus will likely require medical care. Kids with existing medical conditions, such as nervous system disorders, asthma, and diabetes, are particularly at risk for severe flu-related complications because of their weakened immune system.

#3 Protect the Adults to Protect the Babies

Babies under 6 months old should not be vaccinated. While these babies are among the higher-risk groups for flu-related complications, they are just too young to be vaccinated. The best way for babies to be protected against the virus: Let the people around them especially in the house be vaccinated.

#4 Children 6 Months and Above Should be Vaccinated

But when a child reaches 6 months of age, he/she should get an annual flu shot provided that he/she is relatively healthy. Your pediatrician is the person to decide on the matter especially when there are health issues that may preclude the vaccination, such as the possibility for allergic reactions.

#5 Non-needle Option Available

You need not worry about the kids’ fear of needles since there is a non-needle option available – the FluMist nasal spray flu vaccine. Instead of the vaccine injected into the arm via a pre-filled syringe, it is inhaled via a nasal spray, which also provides the same protection against the flu.

#6 Annual Flu Shot a Must

Due to the fast genetic mutations in the flu virus, public health officials and vaccine manufacturers come out with new vaccines every year to combat the flu strains projected to be the most common in circulation for the current season. Getting your kid’s flu shot every year will then ensure that protection against the flu virus stays current.

#7 Two Vaccine Doses May be Necessary

According to the CDC, some children in the 6 months to 8 years bracket will require two doses of the influenza vaccine for maximum benefits. Children who are getting their flu vaccination for the first time will get two doses – the first as early in the flu season as possible and the second 28 days later, at least.

#8 No Flu from the Shot

Children who have been vaccinated will not contract the flu virus from the vaccine itself – the reports about children getting flu-like symptoms after their vaccinations are just coincidental. This is because the vaccine has an inactivated virus designed to stay inactivated so it is impossible to get the flu from the shot or nasal spray.

#9 Two Weeks to Kick In

The body will take around two weeks to make the antibodies that will fight off the flu virus from the environment. Within the two-week period, children may come down with the flu, too, but hopefully not as severe as without the vaccine.

#10 No Mercury

Despite reports, mercury is not an ingredient in the flu vaccine. Both forms are free of a mercury-containing preservative known as thiomerosol.

Be sure to ask about the prices of flu vaccines in walk-in pharmacies like CVS and Walgreens so that your children can get the best protection at reasonable prices.