Yay, flu shots have arrived! Call today to schedule your child’s nurse visit, or check our Facebook page for walk-in hours.
Why get a flu shot?
Simply put, flu shots save lives. A study by the American Academy of Pediatrics found that receiving a flu shot reduced the risk of dying from influenza by 65% in healthy children. Getting a flu shot reduces the risk of a PICU admission for flu-related illnesses by 75%. In the 2017-2018 flu season alone, nearly 200 children died from influenza in the United States. 80% had NOT been vaccinated.
In a good year, it will reduce your child’s risk of catching the flu by 40-80%. And even in a bad year, children & adults who received a flu shot and still catch the flu have a much shorter duration of illness. Two or three days of illness sounds a lot better than 7-10 days!
And let’s not forget, getting flu shots protects the people around us. Infants cannot receive a flu shot until they are 6 months old. Some children and adults have a medical reason to not get the flu shot, or are immunocompromised and at high risk for complications from the flu.
Who should get one?
Everybody over the age of 6 months.
The only contraindication is in someone who has a history of allergic reaction to a previous flu vaccine.
When should you get one?
Today! There is no evidence that it’s better to wait until later in the flu season to get your flu shot. Cases are already being reported sporadically, and in a typical season the numbers will start climbing by Thanksgiving. The vaccine takes 2-3 weeks to be fully effective. Typical “flu shot season” begins October 1st and runs through March.
For any child younger than 8 years who has never had a flu shot before or has only had 1 dose ever before, two doses of the flu vaccine are required (1 month apart). Full immunity effect will not be present until 2-3 weeks after the 2nd dose.
Which flu shot should you get?
This year we are only stocking the injectable version of the flu vaccine, based on different recommendations between the CDC and the AAP regarding the use of the FluMist. If there is evidence that the FluMist is just as effective as the shot this year, we will stock it for next season. But in previous years, it was far less effective, and that is not a risk we are willing to take.
However, feel free to ask for the shot blocker! And a sticker for afterwards.
But Doc, won’t the flu shot give me the flu?
Nope. Cannot happen. That’s like making an omelette from egg shells. You may be achy or have low-grade fever after a shot — but that is just a sign of your robust immune system responding to the introduction of foreign material. You may coincidentally come down with a cold, which is more likely to happen if you wait until winter for your flu shot when most people have 1-3 colds per month. But you will NOT catch influenza from the vaccine.
Any other questions about the flu shot? We hope to see you in the office soon to get yours!