Flu Season is Here: Does My Child Need a Flu Shot?

Flu Season is Here: Does My Child Need a Flu Shot?

Viruses are more likely to cause disease during the cold weather, because the nasal passages secrete less mucus when temperatures drop, which makes it easier for viruses to sneak in. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that children get vaccinated every year by the end of the fall to help prevent influenza infections. Children as young as six months old are eligible for the flu vaccine

Our providers at Pediatric Practitioners of Oklahoma in Claremore, Oklahoma, recommend yearly immunizations, and in this blog, they explain more about why.

Why vaccines are recommended for children

Healthy adults are better at fighting off the influenza virus, but children under age 5 as well as the elderly are at risk for complications. 

In rare cases, pneumonia caused by the influenza virus can be fatal. Children who have autoimmune conditions are also at risk for severe influenza complications. Common autoimmune conditions in children include Type 1 diabetes, juvenile arthritis, and celiac disease. 

Obesity is another risk factor for children, as it can reduce the immune system’s ability to fight viruses, and it can also raise inflammation levels. 

Why there’s a new vaccine every year

The influenza virus mutates often, and scientists develop new vaccines each year by making predictions about what strains will be more likely to be present during the upcoming flu season. 

Scientists select the strains that will be used to develop vaccines depending on what strains caused problems during the last flu season, how contagious those strains were, and how efficient the previous vaccine was against those strains. 

To collect all of this information, there are 144 national influenza surveillance centers that are constantly testing and detecting new influenza strains. 

Vaccine safety

Flu vaccines have been available to Americans for more than 50 years. They undergo rigorous testing before being released for public use.

Furthermore, you don't need to worry about your child getting the flu from a shot, because traditional flu vaccines contain deactivated (dead) influenza viruses. Even though the viruses are dead, the body still sees them as a threat and builds up antibodies against them. So, when the body encounters a live virus, the immune system is ready for it.

The flu shot can have some side effects, but these are mild and usually go away on their own. Common side effects include mild fever, headaches, muscle aches, and nausea. 

Severe side effects can occur when there’s an allergy to one of the ingredients used in the vaccine. Allergic reactions usually appear immediately after immunization. They’re very rare and treatable. 

Get your child’s flu shot with us 

Making sure your child has their flu shot can help protect them from getting infected and also help keep infections from spreading to others. If your child hasn’t had their flu shot this year, we can give them the protection they need.

To get your child immunized, or to learn more about the flu shot, call 918-283-4660 or book an appointment online with Pediatric Practitioners of Oklahoma today.

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