With flu season right around the corner, The American Academy of Pediatrics has recently issued a warning telling all parents to vaccinate all of their children. The AAP also recommends getting the vaccine before October and taking it has a shot, not a nasal mist.
Both the shot and mist contain some traces of the virus, but doctors are recommending the shot because it contains dead strains of the influenza virus. The mist on the other hand only contains weaker versions of the virus and is far less powerful against certain strains of influenza.
“Everyone over six months of age should get their flu vaccine before Halloween,” said Atlanta pediatrician Dr. Jennifer Shu, a member of the academy. “Don’t go trick-or-treating unless you’ve had your flu shot.”
Despite the fact that the debate over vaccinations seems unending, at the end of the day, doctors still call it the best way to protect your child from illness this year. Influenza can be a lot more dangerous for children and the elderly than it is for anyone else. Last year alone, influenza killed 179 children. Moreover, there were 30,453 influenza-related hospitalizations. This was in large part to the dominance of a particularly wicked strain of influenza called H3N2. According to the CDC, that was the highest number of childhood deaths from the flu in recent memory. Of the kids who died, 80 percent of them were not vaccinated.
According to the AAP, children who are between six months and eight years old should get two doses if it is their first time receiving a flu vaccine. Children nine years old and older require only one dose. Even though the predictions suggest that the flu season this year won’t be quite as intense as it was last year, the flu comes in a lot of forms and isn’t always predictable.
“Get your vaccine. Wash your hands well. Don’t go to school or work while sick. Cover your cough or your sneeze,” Shu said. “Try not to touch your face. Every time you touch your face, you have a chance of introducing germs.”