Nobody likes to get the flu, and getting the flu over the holidays can really put a damper on the festivities. The optimal time to receive the flu shot is in October. But, even though the holiday season is in full swing, it’s not too late to get your kids their flu shot.
Common Cold or the Flu?
The flu and the common cold have similar symptoms but it is important to recognize that there are important differences between the two viruses. Flu symptoms tend to appear much faster than cold symptoms and tend to be more severe. The flu is serious and can lead to complications such as pneumonia, bacterial infections, hospitalization and in rare cases can even lead to death.
Flu Symptoms Include:
Fever (not everyone who has the flu will have a fever)
Fatigue or extreme tiredness
Muscle or body aches
Runny or stuffy nose
A sore throat and cough
The Flu Is Preventable
Unlike the common cold, however, the flu can be prevented. The flu vaccine is hands-down the most effective way to avoid getting sick with the flu.
Each year, millions of people avoid the flu because they were vaccinated. The CDC estimates that 5.3 million people who received the vaccination during the 2016-2017 flu season dodged the illness. The CDC also reported that a 2014 study demonstrated that the flu vaccine reduced children’s risk of flu-related pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) admission by 74% during flu seasons from 2010-2012.
Babies over 6 months of age can receive the annual flu vaccine. The flu vaccine is not approved for babies under 6 months, so it is even more important for older children and adults in the home to receive it in order to prevent inadvertently passing the flu to the baby.
Pregnant mothers should also receive the flu vaccine as the CDC reports that a flu vaccine given during pregnancy helps protect the baby from the flu for several months after birth, even though the baby is not old enough to be vaccinated on their own.
It’s Not Too Late to Vaccinate
Even if your child has already had the flu this year, you should still get them vaccinated. There are several strains of the flu virus that are circulating and this year’s vaccine protects against the 4 most prevalent flu viruses.
If your child has not received a flu shot yet, now is the time to come into Pediatric Care Group and get them one.