The Flu Shot For Children

The Flu Shot For Children


Should My Child Get the Flu Shot

The flu vaccine (also known as a flu shot) that is offered by all health-care providers becomes a hot topic among parents during the fall period. On the one hand, parents want to protect their children from the virus by means of the vaccination, but on the other hand, there are many myths surrounding the flu vaccine that raise particular concerns. So what is more dangerous: the side effects of the flu shot or the flu itself? Let’s take a close look at this issue.

Flu Shot Effectiveness

Parents can weigh up all pros and cons to decide whether or not they want their children to be vaccinated. The flu vaccination is optional, which is why it’s very important to make the right decision. First of all, parents should be aware of the benefits of the flu shot and its efficacy.

It’s important to understand that vaccination doesn’t prevent you from contracting flu. You may still get the flu but you will experience a milder case (without complications) than those who didn’t have a flu shot. Unfortunately doctors don’t always inform parents about this, so the latter
mistakenly believe that their children will not suffer from flu after the vaccination.

The flu vaccine has a long-term effect on the human body. Immunity from vaccination takes two weeks to develop and lasts up to 6 months or more. The vaccination should be done early before the flu season, to allow time for it to work.

Checking the label to see who is the manufacturer wouldn’t go amiss, because vaccines produced in foreign countries are highly effective (up to 90 %). One of the benefits of the flu vaccine is that it can be given with other vaccines, such as measles, diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus.

The most common flu vaccine brands are Vaxigrip, Agrippal, Influvac, and Fluarix. However, one wouldn’t have doubts whether to give flu shot to their child or not if it wasn’t for some drawbacks. There are a few of contraindications to flu vaccinations that (if ignored) can lead to serious complications. Many parents avoid vaccination out of fear of those complications.

How Does Flu Vaccine Work?

The injected flu vaccine causes antibodies to develop in the child’s body. These antibodies protect against the viruses that are in the vaccine. If a child less than 9 years old is vaccinated for the first time, they need to repeat the vaccination in one-month’s time for the immunity to kick in. If a child had any other flu shot previously or is more than 9 years old, then they don’t need the second shot.

Contraindications to Flu Vaccination in Children

The Flu Shot For Children 1

Health professionals must inform a parent about all the contraindications to a flu vaccination to prevent health complications.

The contraindications to the flu shot are:

  • a child is under 6 months: children under 1 year are not vaccinated if it’s a live vaccine (used for children above 3 years) and inactivated vaccine (above 7 years); many health professionals believe that the healthiest vaccine is the one that is given to children under 3 years old, because they need to have a full list of other different vaccines at that age;
  • heart diseases;
  • diabetes;
  • recent cold;
  • chronic lung diseases;
  • a temperature rise;
  • running nose and cough;
  • current exposure to the flu (for example, if there is a sick person in the family);
  • current sickness;
  • egg white allergy;
  • epilepsy;
  • hydrocephalus;
  • idiosyncrasy.

A medical examination must be performed before the vaccination (especially if it’s a child’s first vaccination). The doctor must check the following: the blood and urine tests, medical history, and allergic reaction to the vaccine.

The doctor must check the child on the day the vaccination is given as well (temperature increase if any). Only after these precautions, a flu shot can be made. Otherwise those much-talked-about complications can occur.

Side Effects of the Flu Vaccine

Lately many people have expressed concerns about the dangerous side effects of the flu vaccine given to children. Parents should understand that all their baseless fears and doubts could come true only if the contraindications are ignored. If the child is healthy, the vaccination will go successfully and serve its purpose – to protect from the flu.

The mild and severe side effects of the flu shot are:

  • a low temperature rise;
  • localized swelling and redness at the injection site;
  • headache;
  • weakness;
  • drowsiness;
  • a high temperature rise;
  • anaphylaxis that cause a blood pressure decrease and heart failure;
  • death (in the presence of other serious internal diseases).

Most of the side effects are short and local, but can be dangerous for children with serious pathologies and health problems. An additional consultation with a health specialist is required to identify the risk level of the flu shot.

Video: Flu Vaccine for Children & Flu Shot Side Effects

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