Should your children get the flu vaccination this year?
It's Flu season once again and parents are faced with the dilemma of whether or not have their children vaccinated for the flu. Flu vaccinations for children may not seem like a big issue to debate. For some of us, flu vaccines seem like good prevention, but for others, there are concerns that are genuine as to whether the flu vaccine is necessary.
Safety and Risk Factors of Public Flu Vaccine
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that all children 6 months and older receive an annual flu vaccine. This is especially advised for children with who have other health care conditions such as asthma and diabetes. These children fall into a high-risk group for flu complications along with people over the age of 65 and those in high-risk jobs such as those in the medical field. Vaccinating children for flu may not seem like a bad idea since, unlike adults who know to take the necessary sanitary precautions to prevent the spread of germs, children still haven't grasped the concept as well. They don't think to cover their mouths when they cough or not to sneeze directly at someone. Healthy children should be given an annual flu vaccine, but the following points are important:
- Only children 6 months and older should receive the flu vaccine. If the child is receiving the flu vaccine for the first time and is under the age of 9 years old, they will need to receive two vaccines in the same year, one month apart from each other.
- Flu vaccination for children and adults can be administered through a needle or a nasal spray.
- It's important to have all able family members immunized, including yourself, to insure that the entire family remains healthy during cold and flu season.
- It's important to get all the facts from your doctor regarding the flu vaccine if you have any concerns.
Some parents do have concerns about flu vaccination and some of these are valid. Here are some concerns a parent may have.
- Egg Alergies: This is a genuine concern and a legitimate one. Since eggs are used to create the vaccine, it's important to talk to a doctor regarding this matter. Odds are, your child isn't a candidate to receive flu vaccine and other precautions will be needed to help them during the flu season.
- Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS): GBS is a disorder of the nervous system that causes weakness in the human muscles. GBS has been linked to some flu vaccines, including the swine flu vaccine of 1976. However, the reported cases of GBS due to the flu vaccine are a very low percentage. Once again, this concern should be discussed with a health care professional.
- Thimerosal: Thimerosal is a form of Mercury that has been used in many vaccinations of over the years as a preservative to add shelf life to the vaccine. There are some that believe that Thimerosal can be linked to Autism in children, however there are no studies that have determined this as of yet. Although many efforts have been made to remove Thermosal from all vaccines including the flu vaccine, there is still a concern out there that it still could be used. Get the facts, and bear in mind that Thimerosal is only used in trace amounts. Ask your doctor about Thimerosal-free vaccines.
There are arguments for both sides of the flu vaccination for children debate. One thing remains certain. Although there are some legitimate arguments against having a child vaccinated, the flu can be a dangerous and deadly thing for children. The odds of a child suffering complications or even death from the flu are significant. It's important to get a vaccination if at all possible.