Maybe you have been thinking about skipping this year’s flu shot since there were so few cases last year. Think again! Now is not the time to skip a flu shot or even procrastinate. This is true for you and for your child. Should my child get a flu shot? The answer is a resounding YES, and here is why.
Can Influenza Illness Be That Dangerous in Children??
The answer is yes. Getting the flu is much more dangerous than the common cold for children. According to the CDC, children younger than 5 years old, patients with underlying conditions, such as asthma, and especially younger than 2 are at a higher risk of flu-related complications.
- Millions of children get sick from the flu.
- Thousands of children end up in the hospital.
- In rare cases, some children even die from the flu.
Why It Is Especially Important This Year
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) warned in a recent policy statement that all children ages 6 months and older should get a flu shot this fall. Because flu illness was down last year, children may not have built up much immunity to the flu.
A vaccination is the best protection against the flu. It is recommended that everyone receive the shot before the end of November, but it is still better to get the vaccine later than not at all.
Symptoms Of The Flu In Children
Common symptoms of the flu include fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, body aches, headache, and fatigue. It’s possible to have vomiting and diarrhea in children. Most who get the flu will recover in a few days to less than two weeks. Other complications can develop.
- Pneumonia where the lungs become infected and inflamed
- Worsening medical problems like asthma
- Brain dysfunction like encephalopathy
- Sinus problems and ear infections
Parents should contact Pediatric Associates or the emergency room with the following symptoms:
- fast breathing
- bluish lips
- ribs pulling in with each breath
- muscle pain (child can’t walk)
- dehydration (no tears when crying)
- not being alert or interacting while awake
- fever over 104 degrees, or any fever in a child less than 12 weeks
Lastly, be on the lookout for fever or cough which improves and then worsens.
A flu vaccine can reduce serious illnesses, doctor visits, and missed days at school, as well as prevent flu-related hospitalizations and deaths.