While it may seem that the flu season just ended, it's almost time for it to arrive once again, which means that you should be looking at booking your children's flu shots sooner rather than later. And even though it's only the beginning of October it's been recommended that kids receive their flu shots before Halloween, so it may be time to schedule that appointment now before life gets even busier for you.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), as well as the CDC, are recommending that children receive their flu shot before the end of October to ensure they are fully protected during this flu season. “The best way to keep children healthy and in school is to get the flu vaccine by the end of October,” said Flor Munoz, MD, FAAP, member of the AAP Committee on Infectious Diseases. “The flu virus is unpredictable, spreads easily and can cause serious illness, so we urge vaccination in children and adolescents to protect them, their family and community, as well.”
Dr. Jean Moorjani, a pediatrician at Orlando Health Arnold Palmer Hospital tells USA Today that timely vaccinations are important because it can take time for the vaccination to be fully effective. "You won't be fully protected for about two weeks after you get the shot," Dr. Moorjani said. "What I say to patients is to try and get your appointment by Halloween."
The AAP is also suggesting that both the nasal spray and the flu shot are both effective means of helping to prevent the flu this year.
This year the vaccines are said to prevent against four different flu strains, including two A and two B strains and are recommended for children over the age of six months. The flu vaccine can drastically reduce the risks of getting a serious case of the flu in children and can limit the effects it can have. The AAP writes that the"CDC reported 129 influenza-associated pediatric deaths occurring during the 2018-2019 season. During the 2017-18 season, the CDC estimated that 80 percent of the 186 children who died from flu-associated complications had not been vaccinated against influenza."
Moorjani said that while it is possible to get the flu even if you've had the shot, the vaccine is still helping to protect you. "You're priming your body to fight should it get exposed. So I want people to know, yes, you can get the flu vaccine and be exposed to the flu and still get sick. But your body will be protected. You might get a fever of 100 or 101, not 105. And you'll be sick three to five days, not seven."
Now is the time to call your doctor and book those flu shot appointments so you can guarantee your child has the maximum protection.