With flu season quickly approaching, many parents are facing the age-old question: To vaccinate or not?
While shots aren’t always the most pleasing experience for you or for your child, a flu shot can be their best defense against the virus. A flu vaccination can reduce flu illnesses, doctor visits, and missed work and school due to flu, as well as prevent flu-related hospitalizations.
While the flu vaccine has been around for years, there are a few updates that you should be aware of for this flu season.
What’s new this season:
- Only injectable flu shots are recommended this season. The child-friendly FluMist has been an option over the past several years, but the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have recently withdrawn their recommendation for this year. Immunization experts made their decision after reviewing data comparing FluMist with the standard flu shot. The easy-to-use spray had been ineffective over the past three seasons. This leaves only one option for parents and pediatricians alike—a flu shot.
- Flu vaccines have been updated to better match circulating viruses.
- There will be some new vaccines on the market this season.
- The recommendations for vaccination of people with egg allergies have changed. People who have experienced only hives after exposure to egg can get any licensed and recommended flu vaccine that is otherwise appropriate for their age and health, according to the CDC. People who have symptoms other than hives after exposure to eggs (such as angioedema, respiratory distress, lightheadedness, or recurrent emesis) or who have needed epinephrine or another emergency medical intervention can still get any licensed and recommended flu vaccine that is otherwise appropriate for their age and health, but the vaccine should be given in a medical setting and be supervised by a health care provider who is able to recognize and manage severe allergic conditions. People with egg allergies no longer have to wait 30 minutes after receiving their vaccine.
According to the CDC, the flu kills 3,300 to 49,000 people each year, with children and the elderly particularly vulnerable. Overall, Influenza is dangerous for children. According to the AAP and the CDC, everyone six months and older should receive the flu vaccine each year, with a special effort made for those with adverse conditions that increase the risk of complications such as diabetes, asthma and neurodevelopmental disorders. The AAP also advises healthcare workers and pregnant mothers be immunized to protect those at high risk. Whether opting for flu shots at your next pediatric appointment, or visiting a local drugstore for the shot, children should be vaccinated every flu season for the best protection against the flu. In addition to getting a seasonal flu vaccine, you can also take everyday preventive actions like staying away from sick people and washing your hands to reduce the spread of germs. If you are sick with flu, stay home from work or school to prevent spreading the disease to others.
Your Best Shot
Flu vaccine is approved for use in those as young as six months old and up. To schedule yours, make an appointment at Children’s Hospital of Georgia today by calling (706) 664-0585.
Sources: American Academy of Pediatrics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention