He flu virus it has the ability to mutate every year, so our defenses are not able to recognize it every time it returns and this can cause us to get sick with each new season. This causes vaccines to be redesigned to adapt to changes in the virus and this is the main reason why children should get a flu shot every year. It is the only measure that has been shown to be effective in reducing the risk of disease!
It is an inactivated vaccine, which is administered intramuscularly in the thigh or arm from six months of age. The number of doses depends on the age of the child and whether they have already received the vaccine in previous seasons.
- The general guideline is a general dose, which is applied from the age of nine or under nine with a previous flu vaccine in previous seasons.
- Between 6 months and 8 years, If this is the first time they have been vaccinated, two doses a month apart are recommended. Starting in the following years, it will be an annual dose as in the general population.
- Can be given at the same time as other vaccines, but choosing different places for its administration.
The best measure to avoid getting infected is vaccination, but there are several types of this virus circulating each season, which means that the vaccine is not perfect, since 100% protection is not achieved. The younger the individual, the less effective it is, therefore the protection is less in younger children.
The strategy of also vaccinating people who live with children at risk is to seek to protect these little ones who have not responded to the vaccine, making it less likely that they will be infected from those who live intimately with it. It is of vital importance in children younger than 6 months, who cannot receive the vaccine.
Every year in autumn the well-known Influenza Vaccination Campaign begins, and with it, the Ministry of Health (and the Vaccine Advisory Committee of the Spanish Pediatric Association) issues recommendations on its administration. The main goal of vaccination is to prevent those with risk factors for a flu complication from contracting this infection.
- Children older than 6 months and adolescents at risk or with underlying diseases (for example asthma, diabetes, heart disease), cancer, immunodeficiencies, Down syndrome or former premature babies, among other groups.
- Children older than 6 months, adolescents and adults in close contact (caregivers) with people (children or adults) at risk.
- Family environment and regular contacts (healthy children and adults) of infants under 6 months (who cannot be vaccinated).
- It also insists on the importance of vaccination in people over 65 years of age, pregnant women (regardless of the gestation weeks) and health personnel.
Outside of these indications, the experts emphasize that all children older than 6 months can benefit from the prevention of this disease, being a recommended measure in those parents who request it and their pediatrician considers it appropriate, due to the high rate of complications in these ages and the impact of the infection on the child population.
In summary, It is recommended to vaccinate particularly children included in risk groups and in those who are regular contacts of people at risk of any age. The vaccination of healthy children is an option to be valued by families. And, if you have doubts about whether you should vaccinate your children, go to your pediatrician for advice.
Pregnant women represent one of the risk groups for which flu vaccination is recommended due to the complications that may occur secondary to infection. This vaccination has three objectives:
- Protection of the mother
Pregnant women, due to certain physiological changes that occur (immune, respiratory and cardiovascular systems), have a higher risk of complications, being more serious than in the general population.
- Protection of the fetus
The risks to the fetus are not well defined, but some studies affirm that there is an increased chance of malformations in influenza infections at the beginning of pregnancy, in addition to the risk of miscarriage. In more advanced gestation, it has also been related to premature deliveries and low birth weight.
- Protection of the newborn
The baby receives the antibodies during gestation through the placenta and later through breastfeeding. This will allow them to benefit from some protection during the first months of life.
It must be made clear that the flu vaccine is safe and effective, being the only effective option to protect the population from the disease, so vaccination is recommended for all pregnant women regardless of their gestational age.
However, if you get sick with the flu during breastfeeding, you should take extreme care of hygiene at home and avoid very intimate contact with the baby (don't worry, it will only be a few days).
- It is recommended use mask when you are with your little one or are breastfeeding.
- To take a break at home.
- Drink much liquid.
- And finally, take medication recommended by your doctor to treat fever, pain, or discomfort.
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