29 Sep Flu FAQ: The Benefits of Getting a Flu Vaccine For Your Child
The flu shot is one of the most discussed vaccines out there today and is something that gets brought up to doctors daily, especially this time of year. There are many people who don’t understand the flu shot, aren’t sure if they need it or simply don’t know the impact it can have—especially on their children.
There are many parents who have questions about the flu and the flu vaccine along with what the benefits are of getting this shot. These are some of the most frequently asked questions regarding the flu vaccine and the vital information that every parent needs to know.
What is the Flu?
Before parents can really grasp some of the benefits of the flu vaccine, they need to know what the flu actually is. There are many misconceptions about the flu out there and many people who get the flu and flu-like symptoms may get confused. Some people will say they “get the flu all the time.” This typically isn’t true. They may get viral illnesses frequently or get colds quite often, but they aren’t truly getting the flu or influenza.
The actual flu is a very serious disease. It affects millions of Americans and can cause extreme illness, hospitalization and even death and you need to try to protect yourself and your children from this condition when you can. You may think that the flu is just another virus, but it is not. There are around 500,000 hospitalizations for the flu every year and nearly 30,000 deaths from the flu annually. Even with all of the advancements in modern medicine, and treatments, these statistics have been virtually the same for the last decade, this is why flu prevention is key.
Why Do You Need the Flu Shot Every Year?
One of the biggest questions that parents have regarding the flu vaccine is why their child keeps needing the shot year after year. After all, most vaccines are distributed once when a child is young and they receive life-long protection. However, the flu virus is smart. It mutates rapidly and is always changing. In fact, every year, there are several different strains of the flu that circulate around the world.
It can be very difficult to predict which strains are going to be the predominant ones. This is why there is always research going into the flu shot and why scientists are always tweaking and changing the vaccine every year. Sometimes science gets it right and predicts which strain will be most prevalent, and sometimes they do not. Getting an annual shot is the best way to raise your chances of being protected against the season’s most prevalent flu vaccine.
My Child is Young, Do They Need the Flu Shot?
Yes. Children need the flu shot. In fact, every child over the age of 6 months should be getting the flu shot every year. Children 18 years and younger, the elderly and those with chronic diseases such as diabetes and asthma are at the highest risk for getting the flu. The flu vaccine is a great way to stay protected from this virus.
Does the Flu Vaccine Have to be a Shot?
Yes. Over the past two years, only the injectable form of the flu vaccine has been approved in the United States. You may have heard of the flu “mist nasal spray,” which was touted as being an easy, painless solution to the flu vaccine. Unfortunately, it just wasn’t as effective as the injectable form. It is understandable as a parent to be nervous about giving your child a shot and having them endure a brief moment of pain, but it is the only way to keep them safe from the flu and is more than worth the life-saving protection they will receive.
Are All Flu Vaccines the Same?
No, they are not. This is why it is so important to talk to your doctor about the flu vaccine before you get the shot. There are some vaccines that only cover three strains of flu. Others cover four. These vaccines are known as quadrivalent vaccines. Here at Continuum, we only use the quadrivalent shots that cover all four strains. If you do decide to get your flu shot at somewhere other than Continuum, make sure to ask if they have the quadrivalent shot available so you can get the most protection possible from your vaccine.
How Do I Schedule a Time for My Child to Get the Flu Vaccine?
Here at Continuum, we make it easy to schedule an appointment for your child’s flu vaccine, which is why we make these appointments nurse-only visits. If you are an established patient, you don’t even need to see the doctor. There are so many benefits of getting the flu shot, included no missed school, no missed work and most importantly that your child won’t get sick.
We are so adamant that all of our patients take the time to get the flu shot. If you can’t get into our office, we encourage you to go to a local pharmacy if it is more convenient. If your child is eight or older they can safely get their flu shots at these locations.
When Should My Child Get the Flu Vaccine?
Here at Continuum, we are encouraging all parents to try to get their child’s flu shots before Halloween. You want to make sure that your children are protected with their flu shots before the flu starts spreading in your community. It takes around two weeks after the shot has been administered for antibodies to develop. Some younger children will actually need two doses of the vaccine in order to get the protection they need, and these doses have to be given four weeks apart.
Simply put, the sooner you can get your child in for the flu shot the better. Halloween is right around the corner, and Thanksgiving, Christmas and the holiday season follow shortly after. Make sure your children are safe and healthy for this fun time of year. The great news is, even if you fall behind on your vaccine schedule, it can still be beneficial even in the midst of flu season and well into Winter.
You can schedule an appointment to get your child’s flu shot by calling 817-617-8600 or scheduling online at http://continuumtx.com/contact.