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Neighbors Growing Together | Nov 21, 2017

Flu vaccines help prevent infections, hospitalizations, death

By Jay Heitsman, Medical Arts Clinic pediatrician | Sep 16, 2013

Should I vaccinate my child against the flu? Yes. And you should get one too.

The flu is more than just a nuisance if someone in your family gets sick. The flu is responsible for more hospitalizations and deaths in children and adults than any other vaccine-preventable disease in the United States.

Preschoolers and school age children are the age groups most likely to be infected with influenza. “In the 2012 – 2013 season, more than 150 children were documented to have died from influenza; many of them were healthy and not vaccinated against influenza.”

Children have been shown to be responsible for the transmission of the flu within families, schools, and communities because children have prolonged infection rates and continued exposure to other children. You need to protect yourself and those that come in contact with your child such as their grandparents or anyone who may have a compromised immune system. The flu can also be a financial burden on families when parents lose time from work to care for children or their own flu symptoms.

If your child is afraid of getting a shot, a nasal spray is available for healthy children aged 2 through 17 years. If it is recommended by their physician, there is a special flu formulated for children as young as 6 months old.

All children aged 6 months to 8 years who are recommended for two doses of the shot should receive their first dose as soon as possible after vaccine becomes available; these children should receive the second dose within four weeks. In general, health-care providers should begin offering vaccination soon after vaccine becomes available, and if possible, by October.


Source: Contemporary Pediatrics, August 2013

Dr. Jay Heitsman is a pediatrician at Medical Arts Clinic in Fairfield.

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