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Should I give my children the flu shot?
YES! Definitely! Absolutely! Without a doubt! And go ahead and stick in any other affirmative adjectives you can think of, it’s that important! And by the way, make sure you vaccinate yourself and every member of your family as well. Here is something that I really don’t understand…Everyone is freaked out about Ebola. I get it. It is a foreign disease that has hit US soil for the first time. And I hear people complaining, where is the vaccine for Ebola? But what about the flu??? To date, how many people has Ebola killed in the US in the past year, um…one. How many people die each year in the United States from the flu? Approximately 23,000! Last year over 105 of these deaths were children. The recent 2003-04 flu season was particularly lethal with 48,614 deaths recorded in the US alone. Oh, you are thinking that it is just the elderly who get sick? Last year, in the 2013-2014 season, the CDC reports that nearly 60% of the flu-associated hospitalizations were in people aged 18-64. Scared yet? You should be!
But wait! We don’t have an App for that, but we do have a vaccine for that! Scared of shots? Most people can get the vaccine via nasal spray. Pregnant? Great! The vaccination will help pass along immunity to your unborn child. Don’t have time to go to the doctor? Most people can get vaccinated at their local pharmacy. With the exception of a handful of medical conditions/allergies that should be discussed with your doctor, there really is no excuse for not receiving some type of flu vaccination!
And I will very briefly address the remainder of the excuses. The resource links below have TONS of information to support the following statements. But here is the “Cliffs Notes” version:
Flu Vaccination Facts
1) You can’t get the flu from the flu shot. It takes 2 weeks for the flu shot to take effect, so if you get the flu right after getting the flu shot, you were likely already infected before you got vaccinated.
2) Pregnant women are generally encouraged to get the flu shot (talk to your doctor, they generally prefer pregnant women to get the shot rather than the nasal spray). In fact women who are pregnant are much more likely to experience serious complications from the flu (such as hospitalization and pneumonia) than non-pregnant women of the same age.
3) Babies under 6 months CANNOT get the flu vaccination. Therefore, it is even more important for their mothers to get the flu shot while they are still pregnant. It is also vital that all siblings and caregivers for the infant are vaccinated to create a herd immunity.
4) The flu vaccine is safe. It does not cause Autism, influenza, baldness, or any other disorder. There is actually a reporting system to report serious complications of any vaccination. It is listed below. The FDA really does have a history of removing any vaccine that has even a hint of being unsafe.
5) The flu vaccine works. True, no vaccination is 100% effective. However, the CDC reports that the flu shot generally reduces your chance of contracting the flu by 70%-90%. It is a bit of a guessing game by the researchers to create a vaccine each year that matches up with this year’s flu strains. This accounts for much of the variability. In addition, younger people tend to respond better to the flu vaccination than an older adult, which also contributes to some of the variation.
6) It’s never too late to get the flu shot. You need a new flu vaccine every year. The peak flu season in the US is generally January-February. Even if flu season is in full swing, you can still get vaccinated and be protected within 2 weeks.
I never give advice that I don’t practice myself. Yes, my children and I have had our flu shots this year, and we get them every year. And dear hubby, this is your first official nagging for you to get your flu vaccination as well. No Excuses!
Also, if you have a question you would like me to address in my Weekly Blog, send it to share@ChildrensTherapyTEAM.
Get your Flu Vaccine, US Department of Health and Human Services
10 Flu myths, Harvard Health Publications, Harvard Medical School
Scarier than Ebola, New York Times
Vaccine Adverse Effect Reporting System, CDC, US Department of Health and Human Services, FDA