6 Questions Answered About the Flu Shot
Doc Smitty on protecting your kids from influenza
“That wasn’t so bad.”
Not many kids look forward to the flu shot, but almost all of them realize that it wasn’t as bad as they thought.
Yes, it’s that time of year. Here are 6 questions we hear most often about the flu vaccine:
1. Who needs a flu shot?
We recommend the flu shot for anyone over 6 months of age. Kids under 5 have much higher risks of hospitalization, severe complications and even death. Pregnant moms have one of the highest complication rates.
2. Is it going to hurt? What about the mist?
Yes. It’s a SHOT. I never promise that shots aren’t going to hurt. I usually say, it’s going to hurt for a minute but it gets better soon. You might have some muscle soreness and achiness for a few days but it’s a lot better than having fever and body aches for 5 days. Unfortunately, we aren’t going to have the mist this year again. Previous years have shown that it wasn’t as effective so, pending new information, no one will be giving it out.
3. "What do you think, do you want to get one?"
When I offer the flu shot to parents, they commonly turn to their kid and ask this question of their children. Seriously, don’t do that. Of course your 4 year old isn’t going to volunteer for the flu shot. It’s a SHOT.
4. Is it going to work?
We don’t always know the answer to this question until much later in the flu season. When it’s too late to get your vaccine…so don’t wait to decide. My question is always: “Even if it’s only xyz% effective, isn’t that better than nothing?” Some years are better than others. Every year, despite the coverage rate, kids lives are saved because of the flu vaccine.
5. How bad is this season going to be?
We’ve heard reports that Australia has had a terrible season. Some experts say that might predict a bad season for us, but others say, it doesn’t matter and we can’t really predict. Bottom line is that it’s either going to be a bad year or it’s not, but we won’t know until much later.
6. When should I get my child’s flu shot?
Right now! Getting protected two weeks before the start of the season is important and we never know when it’s going to start.
Your Cook Children’s pediatrician has flu shots available and we recommend that you get them ASAP, before the start of the flu season. Call your pediatrician to schedule a flu shot today.
Get to know Justin Smith, M.D.
Justin Smith, M.D., is a pediatrician in Trophy Club and the Medical Advisor for Digital Health for Cook Children's in Fort Worth, Texas. He has an active community on both Facebook and Twitter as @TheDocSmitty and writes weekly for Cook Children's checkupnewsroom.com. He believes that strategic use of social media and technology by pediatricians to connect with families can deepen their relationship and provide a new level of convenience for both of their busy lifestyles. Dr. Smith’s innovative pediatric clinic, a pediatric clinic “designed by you,” open now. Click to learn more. To make an appointment, call 817-347-8100.