To many of us, flu season seems like just a seasonal annoyance, but it can be dangerous, especially to young kids. No matter how often you wash your hands or how far out of your way you go to avoid sniffling co-workers, the fact remains: a flu shot is the best way to prevent you or the people around you from getting sick. Call Pediatric Associates of Northern Colorado today to make your immunization appointment!
Who Should Get a Flu Shot
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) all recommend that everyone over the age of six months should get a flu shot. There are a few exceptions aside from age, including people with severe allergies to ingredients within the vaccine and those with specific chronic conditions. If you have existing health problems, talk to your doctor about whether or not an influenza vaccination is a safe choice for you.
Pregnant? You can and should get a flu shot. There is an approved strain of the influenza vaccine that you can receive at any point during a pregnancy, and it protects not only you, but also your unborn baby. Studies have shown that newborns can be protected for the first six months of their life – when they are especially vulnerable to influenza, yet cannot be vaccinated themselves – if their mother receives a flu shot.
What Is a Flu Shot?
A flu shot is an inactivated, non-infectious, “dead” version of the influenza virus. The vaccination exposes your body to the virus so it can develop antibodies against it and prepare to fight the live virus. Each year, a new vaccination is developed to address the three or four influenza strains research has deemed most likely to be a problem. It’s not a perfect system, but as we will explain later, it is an important preventive step.
There are different versions of the flu shot to match your age and health status. For example, children between 6 months and 2 years old will likely be recommended a different dosage than a healthy adult. Make sure you visit an official clinic or doctor’s office to ensure you receive a licensed, age-appropriate vaccine.
When Should You Get a Flu Shot?
The CDC and AAP recommend that you and your family get the flu shot as soon as it is available. Flu season can be unpredictable, and it takes about two weeks from the time of inoculation for your body to develop the antibodies it needs to fight the virus. We know that life can get busy, but try to check this off your to-do list by the end of October!
Babies between 6 and 8 months old may need multiple doses over a period of time, which may encourage you to schedule your family’s immunizations earlier than later. Despite any rumors you may hear, there is no evidence that children who are vaccinated early in the season are at higher risk for infection. Make sure they are protected sooner rather than later and schedule your appointment today!
Where Can You Get a Flu Shot
You can find a place to get your flu shot almost anywhere you look. Healthcare clinics and, of course, pediatric offices like Pediatric Associates are both good options. There also may be initiatives at your office or within your school district to set up temporary clinics and make it easier for everyone to get vaccinated.
Why It’s Important
Influenza has the potential to be very serious. While many of us probably think of a few miserable days of coughing, sniffing, and generally feeling down in the dumps, the flu can be a big health concern. For some – especially vulnerable populations like babies, the elderly, and those fighting other illnesses – it can even be life-threatening. According to the CDC, “millions of people get the flu every year, hundreds of thousands of people are hospitalized and thousands or tens of thousands of people die from flu-related causes every year.”
The flu shot can help:
- Protect vulnerable populations from influenza through “herd immunity”
- Prevent the spread of influenza
- Diminish the severity of those who contract the flu
- Reduce the risk of hospitalizations and flu-related deaths throughout the community
Call Pediatric Associates of Northern Colorado Today!
We understand that flu shots can be inconvenient, painful, and scary, but there is still no better way to protect yourself, your family, and the people in your life from influenza. Past vaccines do not protect you from future illness, and a history of years without infection does not mean you are safe. Face flu season head-on, knowing that you did everything you could to keep your family and your community healthy — call Pediatric Associates of Northern Colorado today to schedule your flu shot!