Flu Shot Facts You Need to Know to Protect Your Family

Some surprising flu shot facts to spur you to protect yourself and your family this winter.

Our house recently got hit by a VERY nasty virus. We had someone sick at home for over a month – and each of us missed about a week of work or school, with lingering after effects. It’s been a tough road! I was the last to get the bug and the timing couldn’t have been worse. I was so sick I wasn’t able to attend national music championships that my son was competing in….and his school WON! Best in the country….but I missed it.

flu-facts2This got me thinking about the flu and annual flu shots. The illness we had seemed every bit as bad as the flu, but we knew the bug wasn’t influenza. We had all been to the doctor – and the symptoms just didn’t quite fit (see the F.A.C.T.S. in the box to the right). Plus 2 out of the 3 of us had already had our flu shots for the season. It was just a really bad cold. But it made me think about the benefits of the flu shot – something which CAN avoid the risk of an illness as bad as the one we all just suffered through.

Critical Info for 2016-2017 Flu Season

The nasal flu mist vaccine is NOT recommended this season due to concerns about how well it works – so kids will need to get the standard shot. And it’s not too late for kids or adults to get vaccinated. Click here for more information on this season’s guidelines.

Benefits of the Flu Shot

  • Prevent your kids from missing lots of school (in higher grades this can really set them back and create stress – which it did for our son)
  • Prevent you from missing lots of work – or REALLY important events – like your child competing in a national championship!!
  • Pflu shot foctsrotect you and your child from the most severe risks of the flu
    • The flu kills – as WW1 drew to a close in 1918, more people died from the flu pandemic of the time than from the war – which any female who followed the Twilight series would know!
    • But even in regular flu seasons people (and kids) die – over the past 10 years, the number of children killed by influenza in the US has ranged from 34 to 171 per year – EXCEPT for the 2009 flu pandemic when well over 300 children died!
  • Not so concerned by these small numbers? How about protecting your child from ending up in the hospital with influenza complications?
    • Each year an average of 20,000 children younger than 5 years old are hospitalized in the US because of flu complications – the risk is especially bad for kids under age 2
    • The most common complication of influenza is pneumonia – which was found to be one of the main drivers of the death toll during the 1918-19 flu pandemic
    • Other less common but very severe flu complications include
      • Breakdown of muscle tissue that can cause kidney damage (rhabdomyolysis)
      • Inflammation and damage of the heart muscle (myocarditis)
      • Swelling and damage of the brain, including seizures (encephalitis)
    • Protect those you love and others in your community – not everyone can get the flu shot, including babies younger than 6 months, so help keep everyone safe by getting vaccinated

Fun Fact About Flu Shot Development

Did you know that the experts who decide what flu strains go into the seasonal vaccine don’t just guess or pick what goes in the vaccine at the last minute? They are constantly monitoring the state of the flu all around the world. For example, when flu season is over in the US and Europe – it moves south to places like Australia, since their winter occurs when it’s summer in the Northern Hemisphere. There are 5 major centers around the world that coordinate with the World Health Organization on flu tracking – in the US, UK, Australia, Japan and China. All this information helps with choosing the best possible strains for the seasonal vaccine in each region.

About the Author

Audra is an experienced pharmaceutical marketing professional, aspiring writer, and mother of Elliott, a high-spirited fourteen-year old boy. Frequently tired but never bored, she has a strong interest in public health fostered by numerous years implementing global diabetes education programs as well as by her fourteen-year crazy (wild? amazing?) adventure in parenting. She recently earned a Masters in Public Health to augment her expertise in health policy and health promotion. Audra is a member of the PedSafe Team

Comments

2 Responses to “Flu Shot Facts You Need to Know to Protect Your Family”

  1. I like that you’ve mentioned how one should get flu shots for their children regardless of the season because it helps prevent them from missing a lot of days in school, which can be a cause of stress for most children. Our son is about to start school, and we don’t want him missing out on lessons and learnings because of the flu. Thus, we’ll have him scheduled for a flu shot as soon as possible.

    • Stefanie ZuckerStefanie Zucker says:

      Smart parents! This has been a record year for kids and the flu (other than pandemic years). Sounds like you’ve been doing your homework! Hope this coming year is a healthy one for your whole family! Please stay in touch 🙂

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