6 Things You Need to Know About the 2018-19 Flu Shot

October 17, 2018

flu shot

Fall is finally in the air. But, the new school year and cooler temperatures also mean that flu season is on the horizon. Cases of the influenza virus are diagnosed year-round, but peak flu season typically occurs during the fall and winter from November to March.

Whether or not to vaccinate can be a hot-button issue among parents. To help you make an informed decision about your child’s health, here are 6 things you need to know about the 2018-19 flu shot.

1. Get the Shot Now

Following the severity of last year’s flu season, the American Academy of Pediatrics urges parents to get their children vaccinated as soon as possible. While there haven’t been any reported pockets of outbreak just yet, there have already been confirmed cases. Children should receive the shot no later than the end of October. But if November creeps up on you, remember it’s better late than never.

2. Don’t Forget About Babies

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the flu shot for all children ages 6 months and older who do not have contraindications. If your child is under the age of 8 and receiving the vaccine for the first time, he or she may require two doses of the vaccine given four weeks apart.

3. Flu Shot Versus Nasal Spray

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends the flu shot as the first choice for children. The nasal spray vaccine may be used this year for children who would not otherwise receive the flu shot, as long as they are 2 years of age or older and healthy without an underlying medical condition. For instance, if a child refuses the flu shot, or if the physician’s office runs out of the injected vaccine, the nasal spray would be appropriate

4. No Guarantees

Keep in mind, the flu shot is not a guarantee that your child will not contract the virus. Medical researchers do their best to predict which strain(s) will be the most prevalent each year, but it is not 100% effective. Your child may be exposed to the virus before antibodies develop from the shot (which takes about two weeks), exposed to a strain not included in that year’s seasonal flu vaccine, or have other health and age factors that decrease the shot’s effectiveness.

5. Manage Symptoms

For those who do contract the virus despite receiving the flu shot, it can still work to reduce the severity of symptoms and help your child recover more quickly. Most flu hospitalizations and deaths are caused by complications that result from the symptoms, like the progression to pneumonia. Getting the flu shot will help your child develop the antibodies he or she needs to fight off the virus.

6. Prevent Widespread Outbreak

The flu shot is particularly important for young children, older adults and those who with already compromised immune systems. There are still, however, people who are unable to receive the vaccine for health reasons. To prevent a widespread outbreak, it is important for everyone who is able to receive the flu shot to actually get it.

Schedule Your Child’s Flu Shot

Flu shots are now available at Holly Springs Pediatrics. Call 919-249-4700 to schedule your child’s flu shot appointment today.