Each year 200,000 people are hospitalized because of the flu. Dr. Pierre Loredo, a pediatrician with Lee Health, says children 6 months and older should get the flu shot every year. “Since 1971, they’ve kept track of the flu and you would have about 3,000 cases to 49,000 cases causing death from the flu per year.”
Children are more susceptible to getting the flu because their immune system is not as strong as adults. “You’ve got them exposed to all sorts of kids, and not all of them are practicing hand washing. The vaccine is the best way to protect your child against this illness,” said Dr. Loredo.
Many parents worry the flu vaccine will actually give their child the flu, but doctors say no. The vaccine is not live so it helps your child create antibodies which builds their immune system.
“Most commonly what you’re going to get, if you get any symptoms from the flu shot at all, would be pain at the location where you got your shot. You could also get temperatures. You might get a little bit of a sore throat, a little congestion, as your body builds up the immune response,” said Dr. Loredo.
Parents also worry, if their child has an egg allergy they should not get the flu shot. “That’s ok to get your flu shot if you have an egg allergy that just causes you to have that rash. Anything more serious than that like difficulty breathing, hard time swallowing, you need to speak with your doctor about where’s the appropriate place to get the flu shot,” said Dr. Loredo.
If a child gets the flu after they have received the shot, doctors say the vaccine will minimize their symptoms and shorten the duration of their sickness. “You’re better off getting these immunizations than not,” said Dr. Loredo.
In most cases, children are safe and encouraged to get the flu vaccine to protect them from a serious illness. If parents have concerns, they should address them with their pediatrician.
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