Flu Shots for Back to School Season

Flu Shots for Back to SchoolRegarded by many as a miserable but minor infection, the flu actually poses serious risks for the very young. Each year, about 20,000 children under the age of five must be hospitalized due to influenza complications. To ensure that your child is protected, learn the importance of updating his or her flu shots for the school season.
A High-risk Environment
Spread by coughing, sneezing and physical contact with infected surfaces, influenza thrives in environments that put people in close quarters. For school children, the risk is especially high, since many neglect to cover their mouths when coughing or wash their hands on a regular basis.
No matter how hard parents try, it’s virtually impossible to keep children from being exposed to germs. Fortunately, you can significantly reduce the risk of infection by making sure your child gets an updated seasonal flu vaccine.
Do They Need One Every Year?
Each flu season, scientists create a new vaccine that targets the most common strains of the virus from the year before. While this does not provide universal protection against every single type of influenza virus, it does provide a considerable defense against the strains that are most likely to cause widespread illness. By generating natural immunities, the seasonal flu virus can keep your child from getting sick. It can also minimize symptoms if your child happens to contract a variant strain of the flu.
Who Needs a Yearly Vaccine?
The CDC recommends the flu vaccine for anyone 6 months and older; however, certain high-risk people should be especially vigilant about getting vaccinated. These include young children with long-term health problems, caregivers of children with health problems and pregnant woman.
Can the Vaccine Make My Child Sick?
Widespread misinformation has caused some to believe they can get sick from the flu vaccine. Since the vaccine contains a dead or inactivated virus, it cannot cause illness. That said, it can take about two weeks for the body to develop antibodies to protect against influenza. During this time, your child can get sick. Likewise, since the seasonal flu vaccine is developed to protect against only a handful of flu viruses, your child could still contract a variant strain of the virus.
Still, by protecting against the most prevalent strains, the seasonal fly vaccine significantly reduces your child’s risk of getting sick during the school year.

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