Fall has arrived, and your children are back in school. That means flu season is just around the corner. If your son or daughter was vaccinated last year, you might wonder whether another shot is needed again now. The answer is a resounding yes.
Fellowship-trained pediatrician Umesh Kodu, serving the Ashburn and Stone Ridge, Virginia area, explains why children (and adults) need a flu shot annually.
The changing nature of the flu means you must stay one step ahead
Flu viruses aren’t just your run-of-the-mill invaders. They’re clever and tricky. The flu virus is continually mutating to evade the immune system. If your child received a flu shot last season, it doesn’t mean they’re protected this year. That’s why it’s necessary to vaccinate your child against the flu every year. Flu shots provide protection against the most prevalent flu strain for that season.
Protecting your child
The CDC recommends everyone six months or older get a flu shot every season to provide the best protection. Keep in mind that children younger than age five are more vulnerable to serious complications from the flu virus.
It’s best to vaccinate your child early in the flu season before it has time to spread to your community. The CDC recommends getting the flu shot by October. If you’re unable to vaccinate your child by October, it’s still beneficial to get the flu shot later in the season. After you vaccinate your child, it takes about two weeks for the antibodies to build up to provide protection, so the earlier you vaccinate your child, the better.
Getting a flu shot every year is one of the safest and most effective ways you can keep your child healthy this flu season. To schedule your child’s flu shot, call the office nearest you, or book your appointment online.
The flu causes serious illness
Much more than just a stuffy nose and a few aches and pains, the flu makes children very sick. Each year children are hospitalized with serious effects from the flu virus. It’s deadly and highly contagious, and children easily spread the virus through day-day-day contact at school and elsewhere.
Other than getting a flu shot, it’s challenging to protect kids from getting the flu. They share food with other children, and often constantly touch their face and eyes, making it easy to pick up the flu virus and not only get sick but spread it to others.
The flu harms kids most
Children are most vulnerable to the flu virus. Their immune systems are still developing, so the flu can make them sicker than adults. It can cause serious complications, such as pneumonia and severe dehydration, often requiring hospitalization. Each year the flu causes 20,000 hospitalizations among children.
The flu can have your child sick at home for an entire week with fever, severe body aches, cough, and chills, missing out on school and their favorite activities, and increasing their risk of serious complications.
Make an appointment for your child's flu vaccine today, by calling our office or booking an appointment online.