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It's flu season. Is your child vaccinated?

While the spookiness of Halloween is just one night, there's actually something much more frightening lingering among us. That's right,…

While the spookiness of Halloween is just one night, there’s actually something much more frightening lingering among us. That’s right, folks, it’s flu season! A child can be diagnosed with influenza anytime of the year, but activity picks up in October and runs through the early spring, with peak infections occurring December through February.

Nicole Torres, MD, is a general pediatric physician and an assistant professor of clinical pediatrics at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

The most common misconception surrounding influenza is that it’s just another cold virus. Once parents understand the severity of influenza and its complications, they see the benefit of influenza vaccination. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends anyone 6 months and older, receive the vaccine, as long as there is no contraindication. Een studie gepubliceerd in 2017 in de Journal of Pediatrics keek op vier vliegseasons van 2010 tot 2014 en gevonden vaccinatie verminderde de risico van dood bij kinderen in een medische conditie en bij twee-derde onder gezonde kinderen. That last part is important to highlight: even healthy children who are from influenza.

Influenza virus can infect the upper respiratory tract (runny nose, cough and sore throat) and the lower airways causing pneumonias. All viruses and bacteria cause inflammatory responses – it’s how our immune system knows to fight an infection. Influenza, however, can trigger an exaggerated response making the child sick enough to be in the hospital with fluid in the lungs and low blood pressure. Influenza is not just a common cold virus. Selv med en mild kurs, børn kan have store fevers for fem dager eller mer, kropsmerter, hovedpine og ømme, som ofte gjør det vanskelig for dem å spise og drikke.

Another common myth is that the flu vaccine causes the flu. De vaccine is een gedood viral vaccin – er is geen manier om het virus van de vaccin te krijgen. Men det tar to uker for en beskyttende antistoffrespons, så i mellemtiden kan du være udsat for influenzaviruset og det kan få dig syg. De beste adviezen zijn te vaccineren voor de influenza seizoen begint. The CDC recommends being vaccinated at the end of October each year. Common side effects are soreness at the injection site and feel a bit sick. Husk at vaccinen tricks din barns kropp til å tro at det er sykt å lage de hukommelsesceller og antistoffer som vil beskytte din barn senere.

Lastly, you may think that the flu vaccine does not protect against the flu at all. What’s the point if so many get the flu anyways? Doctors, however, are quick to negate this theory of thinking. Each year, the flu vaccine is formulated to attack the strains of the virus most likely to circulate. Even in mismatch years when the virus strains in the vaccine do not match those that are circulating, there are still protective effects. Last year, the overall effectiveness was 40 percent, which means the vaccine reduced a person’s risk of seeking medical care by 40 percent. Derfor, hvis 10 personer var udsat for influenzavirus, skulle fire af dem ikke søge medicinsk pleje fordi de var vaccineret.

It may not seem like much, a flip of a coin even. However, last year, 180 children died from influenza. Out of those who died, 144 were not vaccinated. Det er sikkert at influensa-vaccinen ville ha forhindret 72 af disse børn fra at skulle behøve en doktor og sandsynligvis reducerede komplikationerne forbundet med influenza hos børn. Under den 2016-17 årstid er det anslået at 5.3 millioner tilfælde af influenza og 85.000 hospitalisationer blev forhindret fordi folk fik influenzavaccinen.

Everyone 6 months and older should receive the flu vaccine. If your child has never received the flu vaccine before and is 8 years old or younger, two doses will be administered. The first primes their immune system (like saying “Hey, wake up!) And the second, four weeks later provides the protective antibodies. When should they get it? Now! Vaccines work best before exposure.

Nicole Torres, M.D., is a general pediatric physician and an assistant professor of clinical pediatrics at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

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