Vaccinate your children against the flu
It’s still winter in the southern hemisphere, and Australia is experiencing one of the worst flu seasons it’s ever had.
Which is an early warning to us in the northern hemisphere: the 2017-18 flu season may be long and rough. Experts are suggesting we get our flu shots early this year, especially children as they head back to school.
One of the reasons Australia is having such a severe outbreak is that only about 10% of children have been vaccinated.
As one doctor puts it, “Children are the great distributors (of) the influenza virus. They give it to each other, and then they bring it home and give it to grandparents and uncles and aunts and moms and dads,” said Dr. William Schaffner, from Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
Pediatrician Wendy Sue Swanson, offers great advice to parents in this video:
Bottom line: If you don’t want to get the flu, get vaccinated.
The flu vaccine should be given to everyone 6 months and older. Babies and young children (6 months to 8 years) who have never had a flu shot will need 2 doses of the vaccine, given at least 4 weeks apart. Young children under age 5 years of age at higher risk of hospitalization and serious illness as are children with underlying medical conditions.
And like last year, the nasal vaccine, Flu Mist, is NOT recommended.
Adults, you need the vaccine, too!
Luckily, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) predicts that this year’s flu vaccine will be a much better match than last year. They have even tweaked it a little bit based on what strains of flu they have seen in Australia.
Last year’s flu shot had a pretty miserable success rate, which I know because I got my flu shot and still ended up with the flu!
Of course, part of that was probably my own fault. I am going to be much better about practicing what I preach when I say “Wash your hands, wash your hands!”
Flu shots are already available in many places. Call your health care provider or check online to find out when and where you can get vaccinated.
For more information about the 2017-18 flu season or the flu vaccine, go to the CDC’s Seasonal Flu page.
I’ll be posting more about the flu (and colds) as we head into fall.