The flu shot

Many parents wonder if they should get the flu shot for their children each fall.  In almost every case, the answer is YES!

The flu shot protects against influenza.  This is a very serious virus that causes high fever, severe cough and congestion, body aches, and general misery.  It also has a high rate of complications such as wheezing and pneumonia.  The most severe cases result in hospitalization and even death.  In fact, in an average flu season, more than 30,000 people in the United States die as a result of influenza and its complications.  Sadly, each year this number includes normal, previously healthy children.  Young children, the elderly, pregnant women, people with compromised immune systems or chronic medical conditions are at highest risk.

The flu shot significantly lowers a person’s risk of getting sick with influenza, and it is recommended for all children starting at 6 months old.  The flu shot is not a live vaccine and cannot give you the flu.  Most reactions are mild such as soreness at the injection site or fever.  The flu vaccine cannot be given to children younger than 6 months old, anyone who has a history of Guillain-Barre Syndrome, or anyone who has had a severe allergic reaction to the vaccine or its components.  You should let your doctor know if your child has an egg allergy as some flu vaccines have traces of egg protein.

For more information about influenza, check out the American Academy of Pediatric’s Healthy Children website.  To schedule your child’s flu vaccine, call our office today!

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