The following is a guest post by Cheryl Franco, MSNEd, RN, education manager on the Medical/Surgical and Liver and Kidney Transplant unit at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.
During flu season, you see advertising and hear chatter about flu shots. You may wonder, “Is it worth the hassle?” Every doctor and nurse will say “Yes,” but you may have doubts and questions about why it is so critical to get the flu shot every year. This blog will give you the facts to understand the need for the flu shot for you and your children.
Why is a Flu Shot Needed?
Even though the flu virus can be mild for many, the flu can also be life threatening to young children and those with chronic medical conditions. Getting the flu shot can prevent you and your family from illness, and from passing it friends and family. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), you may be able to infect other people with the flu starting one day before flu symptoms appear to about 7 days after becoming sick. This means that you are able to pass the symptoms to someone else before you even know you are sick.
The flu shot is the ultimate protector in many ways. Here is how people are
impacted by the flu:
1. Babies under six months of age are too young for a flu shot and are high risk for complications from the flu.
2. Since the flu virus spreads easily, even healthy children (and adults) can become sick.
3. Young children (even healthy children) and pregnant women are at risk for serious complications from the flu.
4. People with chronic medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes or any disease that decreases their immune system can be at risk for serious complications from the flu.
5. Each flu strain is different and can range from mild fever to life threatening pneumonia.
6. If you or your child is moderately affected by the flu and passes it to another child or adult, it doesn’t mean they are moderately affected – they can become very ill. For example, what may be a moderate flu to you or your child may be a life threatening flu to someone else.
How Can I Protect My Family?
Get the flu shot! This is the best thing you can do to protect your family during the flu season, which is around October to March. It takes about two weeks for the vaccine to take effect and offer full flu protection. You can get a flu shot even if you don’t have a regular doctor. This vaccine finder is really helpful.
During the flu season, it is also important to teach your children how to properly wash their hands.
Does the Flu Shot Cause the Flu?
Your child can experience mild side effects from the flu shot such as soreness where the shot was given, a low grade fever and body aches.
How Can I Prepare My Child for Shots?
The thought of getting a shot can be very frightening to a child. But there are ways to help your child overcome the fears. You can find some helpful hints in here: Ouch! Prepare Your Child for Shots
I hope this blog post makes you feel empowered to get flu shots for you and your family. Protection from illness is a priority and no one wants to get sick, especially during the holidays. Please make an appointment to protect your family and many other families today.