It’s October, Smarties, have you made plans to get your flu shot? Or your children’s? Now is the time to make that happen and maximize your protection throughout the flu season. Pediatrician Dr. Nick LoChiavo of Novant Health Ballantyne Pediatrics shared five reasons why you should get the flu shot.
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1. The flu is common but can be serious in children.
The severity of flu varies each year. In recent years the CDC estimates that roughly 7,000-28,000 children under 5 years old are hospitalized due to flu each year. Children with chronic conditions including asthma and younger children are most at risk.
2. The flu vaccine is effective.
Fortunately, we have an effective vaccine. The flu vaccine can prevent illness. Additionally, it can prevent the severity of illness in children and decrease hospitalization. Getting the flu vaccine will help keep kids in daycare and school and keep parents and caregivers at work.
3. The flu vaccine is safe.
The flu vaccine has been around for more than 50 years. It has been studied extensively and been shown to be safe. You cannot get the flu from the vaccine. Most common side effects are short lived and mild including tenderness, swelling, redness at the injection site and low-grade fever. Most adults tolerate it just fine. Most children tolerate it just fine…after a sticker or lollipop.
4. The flu spreads easily.
Over the past couple of years, we didn’t see as much flu, likely related to shutdowns and isolation protocols. Fortunately, we are returning to our normal schedules again. As we do so, we may start seeing more flu again. The flu is transmitted via tiny, aerosolized droplets that are spread when infected people cough or sneeze. These droplets then enter others mouth and nose leading to infection.
5. You can prevent spreading the flu to the most vulnerable.
Babies under six months are vulnerable to serious flu illness and hospitalization compared to older children, but the flu vaccine is not approved for this age group. Parents, siblings, and older family members can get the flu vaccine, so they don’t bring the illness home to their babies.