Flu season is already starting to flare up, and if you haven’t already, now is the time to protect your children against the virus. In a recent policy statement, "Recommendations for Prevention and Control of Influenza in Children, 2018-2019," published in the October 2018 Pediatrics, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommended the influenza immunization for everyone six months and older, including children and adolescents. The AAP stated that the vaccination remains the best available preventive measure against the flu, which can have severe or fatal complications in children.
Despite its importance, there are certain concerns about the flu vaccine that regularly emerge during consultations with patients and their families that may result in a child going unvaccinated. Here are some common misconceptions worthy of clearing up for the wellness of our pediatric patients:
Flu Myth #1: The flu shot causes the flu
This ranks highest of most common myths surrounding the flu vaccine. While the vaccine includes a weakened or killed flu virus, the flu vaccine cannot actually cause the flu.
This myth prevails, we believe, because of two factors. The flu shot side effects include some common symptoms of the flu, including soreness, fever, muscle aches or nausea, making it easy to believe the shot transmitted infection, but it did not, it’s simply side effects. Also, keep in mind the shot can take two full weeks to immunize the body against the virus, so the flu virus can still be contracted during that time – it just cannot be contracted from the shot.
Flu Myth #2: The flu shot is ineffective
This myth is rooted in truth, as the flu vaccine is never 100 percent effective. However, when it comes to flu prevention, the vaccination is the most effective form of prevention to protect against the potentially dangerous illness. While it won’t work perfectly across the board, the flu vaccine – given in its injectable form – will provide the most protection against influenza.
Flu Myth #3: The flu shot isn’t required annually
Unfortunately, the flu shot is not a one and done vaccination, and it requires an annual update. The immunity benefits of the flu shot begin to wane over time. Time also plays a factor in the virus itself, changing the strains from year to year, meaning each year’s vaccine is going to be formulated to specifically target the currently circulating strains, which is why it is best to vaccinate annually.
Parents and guardians often hear about the importance of vaccinating against influenza from their child’s regular pediatrician, and at Urgent Care for Children, we can’t help but emphasize the importance of flu prevention, as it is critical to the health of your child. If they haven’t been immunized already, now is the time. Visit us online to schedule an appointment today: Save Your Spot Online.