As a parent, you have many decisions to make. However, whether or not to get your youngster a flu shot is an easy one. Influenza can make kids really sick, and the illness poses a risk for serious complications. So, let’s look at some information about flu shots so you know more about this important vaccine for children.
Who Should Get a Flu Shot?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that all children ages 6 months and older receive a yearly flu vaccine. The flu shot protects infants, toddlers, kids, and teens against the four most probable strains of the influenza virus which are prevalent during a particular flu season. Flu season typically starts in October and extends through the winter.
An important benefit of the flu shot, and other vaccines, is herd immunity. When enough of the general population receive vaccines, the public at large benefits, including immuno-compromised individuals, such as cancer patients, and other people who do not receive vaccines for various reasons.
How Is the Vaccine Administered?
The influenza vaccine for children may be administered by injection into the arm or upper thigh, or via a nasal spray, a mist administered through the nostrils. The spray is not appropriate for children under the age of 2.
How Many Doses Does My Child Need?
In most cases, children under the age of 9 benefit from two doses of the annual flu vaccine. Healthcare providers will administer these vaccines four weeks apart. Children 9 years old and older often only need to receive one dose of the flu vaccine. As always, check with your pediatrician for recommendations.
What Are the Side Effects of the Flu Vaccine?
Many parents worry about the side effects associated with the flu shot and other vaccines as well. However, the CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics advises parents that the benefits of this easy vaccine far outweigh the risks of getting the flu. In fact, the vaccine has a long track record of safety for both healthy children and for those kids who have chronic health conditions, such as asthma or diabetes.
Side effects are very mild and can include:
- Injection site soreness, mild swelling, and redness
- Low-grade fever
- Body aches
Plus, there’s no problem with children being allergic to vaccine components. Kids who are allergic to eggs may receive their flu shots safely.
Flu Shots for Kids at Westchester Park Pediatrics in Purchase, NY
Our board-certified pediatricians and their support team stress the importance of all childhood vaccines, including the annual flu shot. It’s not too late to get your child fully protected. Contact us if you have questions or to arrange for your child’s flu shot.
Call (914) 761-1717 or request a visit online. We look forward to seeing you and your child soon.