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Children Need Flu Shots Too

 

Flu season is here and I’m telling my adult patients they should get the flu vaccine and their children need it as much as they do.

I read a very sobering statistic from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control). Cited in the Journal, Pediatrics, the CDC data stated “seasonal flu killed 830 children from 2004 to 2012, and 43 percent of them had no high-risk medical conditions.” In other words, these were normal children with no previous medical disorders.

Of the children who died, the report continued “death often came quickly: most of the children died within a week of the appearance of symptoms, and a third of them died outside the hospital or in an emergency room.”

The recommendation of most doctors is that people from 6 months of age and older get vaccinated, but, as the Wall Street Journal has noted, “compliance rates often are low. In the 2011-2012 flu season, about 42% of people got a vaccine including just half of children 6 months to 17 years old.”

As reported in the Journal, “flu vaccines offer protection against three kinds of viruses–two varieties of Type A viruses and one variety of Type B. This year, some vaccines contain a second variety of Type B virus.”

The Journal states there are a variety of vaccines that offer protection against the flu for children this year. They are:
The trivalent shot
The standard flu shot to protect against three strains of flu virus

the quadrivalent shot
New this year, a fourth strain of virus is added to the usual three

the nasal spray
This form of vaccination, called FluMist, is especially popular for use with children. It will be updated this year to include the quadrivalent vaccine. It shouldn’t be used by pregnant women as they spray contains live, albeit weakened viruses.

Consult your doctor for the vaccine that’s best for your child.