With temperatures in the high 90’s around Texas, it’s hard to believe flu season is just around the corner. But truthfully, we are just weeks away from the beginning of the sniffles, coughs, and aches of the influenza virus. Flu season can start as early as October and extend through May, and Urgent Care for Kids is stocked with flu shots for the entire family (that’s right parents, you can get a duck of the month too!).
What is the flu?
The flu (Influenza Virus) is a contagious respiratory illness that affects the nose, throat, and lungs. The flu can take up to two weeks to recover from, and there are serious risks that come along with the illness. The flu can lead to pneumonia, bronchitis, sinus infections, ear infections, and even death. Every year more than 200,000 people in America are hospitalized because of the flu.
Signs & Symptoms of the flu:
- Fever (although not everyone will exhibit this symptom)
- Cough/Sore throat
- Runny/stuffy nose
- body aches
The center for disease and control prevention says the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones from the flu is to get your flu shot right away! The flu shot takes two weeks to become fully effective, so experts recommend getting flu shots before the flu season hits its peak.
Flu shot side effects…can I get the flu?
There is a common misconception that receiving a flu shot can actually cause you to get the flu. However, the flu shot is made with flu vaccine viruses that are either deactivated or nonexistent. The FluMist is made with an active virus, but is so weak that it cannot cause the flu. The CDC says the most common side effects of a flu shot is tenderness and redness where the shot was given. Side effects of FluMist include runny nose, headache, and sore throat.
Pediatric Flu Shots
Young children are more susceptible to the flu than adults, so it is imperative they are protected against the flu. The CDC says a recent study showed that flu vaccine reduced children’s risk of flu-related pediatric intensive care unit admission by 74% during 2010-2012.
In 2014-2015 the CDC released new recommendations that children between 6 months and 8 years receive FluMist. FluMist is given as a nasal spray, and was found to prevent 50% more cases of the flu in young children. Children who have egg allergies, asthma, or immunity problems should not receive FluMist. The new recommendations also state that children between 6 months and 8 years receive two doses of the influenza vaccine
If your child received a flu shot in the past two years they will only need one dose. Confused? Here’s a graphic to clear it up…
Flu Shots during pregnancy
Women who are pregnant are at a higher risk for the flu, and are encouraged to get their flu shot. If infected they put their unborn baby at risk for premature delivery and infection in their first 6 months of life (before they can safely receive the flu shot). One study showed that giving the flu vaccine to pregnant women was 92% effective in preventing hospitalization of infants for flu. FluMist is not approved for women who are pregnant.
Other prevention tips
In addition to getting a flu shot, you can take simple steps to stay healthy this flu season.
- Avoid those who are sick
- If you (or your children) exhibit any symptoms of the flu, stay home!
- Wash those hands, and use your Dr. Duck hand sanitizer!
- Consistently disinfect germ-prone areas (counter tops, favorite toys, door handles, ect.)
Get your shot today!
Don’t let the flu keep you under the weather this season! Why not make getting flu shots a family outing? Go to your nearest Urgent Care for Kids clinic to receive your adult flu shot, pediatric flu shot, or FluMist today!
Want more information on the flu? Visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention