Consulting your primary care physician, or "PCP," regularly can help ensure good health. This typically means every three years for most healthy adults under age 50. After your 50th birthday, annual physicals are advised. But what if you have a minor illness? It can be difficult to tell whether you should visit your PCP. This…
The Importance of Flu Shots for Children
Flu shots protect children from common strains of influenza. No one wants to be stuck in bed dealing with the symptoms of this common illness. A flu shot can help prevent complications and reduce the chances of catching the flu in the first place. A primary care or urgent care doctor can further discuss the importance of these annual vaccinations.
Flu shots for children: What to know
Understanding the flu shot
Influenza, also known as the flu, peaks from December through February, according to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Further, there are different strains of the flu circulating each year. To best protect communities, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) creates vaccinations meant to target the strains expected to be the most active that flu season. Health officials and scientists use data to predict these strains.
Healthcare providers recommend that patients get vaccinated against the flu once a year, preferably before the start of flu season. This recommendation also applies to children. If a child has not received a flu shot before and is between six months and eight years old, they will need to get a two-dose vaccination. From then on out, they will only need one dose for yearly protection.
How effective is the flu shot?
Unfortunately, no vaccine can provide 100% protection against any virus. However, vaccination remains an effective, easy way to prevent serious illness. Teaching the immune system how to fight a virus like influenza will make the child less likely to get ill and experience uncomfortable, severe symptoms.
Per the CDC, flu shots have been shown to lower a patient's chances of contracting the flu by up to 60%. Remember that patients must wait two weeks after the date of vaccination to experience full protection. In other words, the sooner a child gets vaccinated, the sooner they can benefit from the flu shot.
Why children should get their flu shots
Parents should not underestimate the importance of flu shots for their children. Since their immune systems are still developing, children are more susceptible to coming down with a severe case of the flu. This is particularly true for children who live with chronic conditions, such as asthma and heart disease. If one is on the fence about vaccinating their child, it may help to consider the following benefits of flu shots for children:
Safe, easy way to protect against influenza
The flu shot is a safe, proven way to protect against flu strains. First developed in the 1940s, the flu shot has a long history of protecting patients. It is also a convenient way to protect a child's health, as the vaccination can be done in just a few seconds. Many pharmacies and urgent care centers offer flu shots on a walk-in basis; primary care doctors can administer them at the end of a patient's annual exam.
Minimal side effects
Many patients experience no or minor side effects after getting the flu shot. The most common are soreness at the site of injection, as well as some redness and inflammation. Some patients may experience nausea, minor headaches, body aches, fatigue, or a fever, but these should not last longer than two days. Any injection may also cause a patient to faint, although this side effect is uncommon. Even more rarely, patients may have an allergic reaction to the shot. Avoid the flu shot if the patient has a known allergen to any of its components.
Note that while some of these symptoms mimic the flu, the flu shot cannot make someone sick with the flu (despite popular belief). This is because flu shots consist of inactive (killed) viruses, which cannot cause an infection. Therefore, the side effects are merely a sign that the immune system is learning how to fight the virus.
Protects others in the family and community
Another major benefit of the flu shot is that, when enough people receive it, it helps slow the spread of the flu throughout a family. Vaccinated children are, therefore, protecting themselves and family members with weakened immune systems, such as babies, immunocompromised siblings or parents, older parents, and grandparents. Vaccination has the same effect within a community.
Protecting your child protects others
Flu shots are an important component of children's healthcare. If you would like to have your child vaccinated, our team can get you set up with an appointment. We can also help answer any questions and concerns if you would like more information. Call our New Caney team at (832) 941-1894 today.
Check out what others are saying about our services on Yelp: Flu Shots in New Caney, TX.
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