The FLU: Now is the time to get vaccinated!

Yes it is the beginning of the flu season and the perfect time to prevent getting the flu by getting a flu shot! 

This year’s flu vaccine is only available as a shot. It is given by intramuscular injection and is approved for children 6 months of age and older.

During the last three flu seasons, the nasal spray vaccine (the live attenuated quadrivalent influenza vaccine, or LAIV) did not offer protection against the predominant strain of influenza virus, and therefore it is not recommended for use this season.

You can’t get the flu from the flu vaccine.  If you catch the flu and are vaccinated, you will get a milder form of the disease.  We know that flu vaccines are about 60% effective–yes, we all wish that number were higher. The good news is that vaccinated people who get the flu usually get a mild form of the disease, just the sniffles, according to a recent study. People who are not vaccinated will be in bed with fever and miserable.

The flu is different from a cold. The flu usually comes on suddenly.

The following chart will help you know what you may be dealing with.

Flu vs Cold

Signs and Symptoms Influenza Cold
Symptom onset Abrupt Gradual
Fever Usual; lasts 3-4 days Rare
Aches Usual; often severe Slight
Chills Fairly common Uncommon
Fatigue, weakness Usual Sometimes
Sneezing Sometimes Common
Stuffy nose Sometimes Common
Sore throat Sometimes Common
Chest discomfort, cough Common; can be severe Mild to moderate; hacking cough
Headache Common Rare

Teaching and reminding your child to wash their hands often and avoiding touching their eyes, nose and mouth will prevent illness germs from entering the body.  These simple steps will help keep your child and the whole family well.  Please keep your child home when they are ill with fever, uncontrolled cough and runny nose to prevent the spread of illness at school.  You as parents are your child’s best role model so please show them cough and cold etiquette and hand washing at home.

Wishing your child and family a happy and healthy fall and winter season.