Back

Your Kids and the Flu Vaccine: 5 Things to Know

Every year, approximately 200,000 people across the country are hospitalized with the flu. Though many make the mistake of underestimating the virus, the truth is that it can be a life-threatening illness, especially for children and senior citizens.

Both The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Centers for Disease Control recommend that all children 6 months and older receive an annual flu vaccine in order to lower their chances of contracting the virus. Despite this, misinformation about the flu vaccine, its safety, and its level of effectiveness cause many parents to avoid it, putting their children at risk. Over 20,000 children are hospitalized with the flu each year with at least a handful of flu related deaths.

Bottom line: your kids need to be vaccinated. While there are some exceptions to this rule, they are relatively rare. And In order to clear up any misconceptions parents may have, we’ve addressed five common myths about the flu vaccine below.

1: The Vaccine Will NOT Give Your Child the Flu

There are currently two methods of administering the vaccine: the shot and the nasal spray. The shot contains an inactivated flu virus that is not infectious. The spray contains a live virus, but it has been weakened to the point to where it cannot cause the illness. However, some children should not get the nasal vaccine. It is best to get all your vaccinations from one location and under the direction of your pediatrician. 

It’s not uncommon, however, to hear people claim that the flu vaccine “gave them” the flu. Rest assured, this is completely untrue.

It IS possible to get the vaccine and still get the flu. Factors such as age, health status, and the particular flu strain all play a part. It’s important to remember, however, that even if your child gets the flu from a different strand, the flu vaccine can limit the duration of the illness and protect him or her from some of the life-threatening complications that can accompany it.

There are some side effects that can mimic mild flu symptoms, such as a low-grade fever, runny nose, and aches. However, these side effects are usually not severe and short-lived.

2: Your Child Needs to Be Vaccinated Every Season

Because there are multiple strains of the flu virus, one vaccine isn’t enough to protect your child. Just because your son or daughter got vaccinated last year doesn’t mean they’ll be protected this year. Your child should receive a new vaccination every year, especially if they are under the age of 5 .

3: Don’t Wait Until There is an Outbreak in Your Community.

The flu vaccine normally takes up to 2 weeks to provide full protection. The sooner your child gets vaccinated, the better chance they have of staying healthy. If you wait until the virus begins to circulate in your community or your child’s school, it may be too late.

4: Getting the Flu Will Not Protect Your Child Against Future Infections

When it comes to fevers, colds, and other minor illnesses in children, most doctors will recommend that you simply let the virus run its course. This is how most children strengthen their natural immune system.

However, when it comes to the flu, this approach can be dangerous and potentially life threatening. Do NOT make the mistake of thinking that contracting the virus will provide better immune protection in the future. Influenza is a serious disease, and getting vaccinated is the safest way to prevent it.

5: The Vaccine Will NOT Give Your Child Autism or Any Other Developmental Problems

The belief that vaccines cause autism is not only false; it’s an incredibly dangerous way of thinking. Unfortunately, the internet is full of misinformation and outright lies about vaccines. However, the CDC and the AAP are clear: there is NO credible link between vaccines and autism or any other developmental disease.

We simply can’t stress this enough. For healthy children, the flu vaccine is safe, effective, and could potentially save your child’s life.
 
If you have any further questions or concerns about the flu vaccine for your child, contact the Pediatric Care Center today