Pediatric doctors aren't just professionals to see when your child gets sick. They're part of a preventative plan that can make sure your little one stays as healthy as possible. Obviously, you don't want your child to get sick. And neither does her doctor. That's why the pediatrician will give you a rundown on the recommended pediatric immunizations. Along with a regular schedule of immunizations, an annual flu shot can also help to protect your child.
What do you need to know about the flu, the flu vaccine and your child?
The flu vaccine isn't a one time and your done type of immunization. Unlike some of the other vaccines, that require only one or a few shots in a life-time, the flu vaccine is something that your child needs annually.
There isn't just one 'flu'. Each year there are somewhat different strains that present as the most popular, or common, versions of the illness. That means the flu vaccine that your child got last year isn't likely to protect her this year. The best bet you have at protecting your child against the flu is to get an annual shot. This keeps her current and helps her to fight off this year's major strains.
Types of Vaccines
Your child can't stand shots. Now what? It's common for children to feel anxious or even scared when it comes to getting shots. While there is a nasal vaccine available, pediatric doctors may not recommend in for all children. The nasal vaccine is known as the live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV). It is only intended for people between the ages of 2 and 49. That means your infant or young toddler can't get the spray and will need the shot.
Along with children under 2-years, kids with some allergies (including egg allergies), who are already sick or have a very stuffy nose or have breathing problems should not get the nasal spray. Your child's pediatrician will evaluate if she can safely have nasal spray or not.
Protection from the Flu
Will the vaccine provide 100% protection? Probably not. It is still possible to get the flu, even with the vaccine. With that in mind, make sure that your child understands how the flu is transmitted (and to stay away from people who have the flu) and how to wash her hands properly.
Remember, the flu vaccine can save your child's life. It lowers the chance of getting the illness and can protect her for the entire season.