We are so grateful to Courtney for sharing the importance of getting a flu vaccine. Read more here.
We’ve already been struck with the first post-summer cold and it was a doozy. Ellie ended up with a double ear infection and I am still fighting through a post-cold sinus infection. It was a preview of what’s to come this fall and winter when cold and flu season arrives. Summer is always a much-needed respite from sickness for our family, but we know what’s coming. While we can’t do much more than sanitizing, washing our hands, and practicing good hygiene to fight off colds this winter, I know exactly what we need to do to prevent the flu.
We schedule our flu shots in late September or early October every single year. It is the only safe, proven, and effective way to prevent the flu. I absolutely hate watching my babies get their shots, but boy do I love the relief that comes with knowing they are protected. The flu is particularly threatening to children. Kids under five, and especially those under two, are vulnerable and at risk for severe flu-related complications. While most children recover normally, serious issues like pneumonia, dehydration, or worsening heart disease can occur. Save yourself the anxiety and talk to your kid’s doctor about this year’s flu vaccine at your next appointment.
BENEFITS OF THE FLU VACCINE
Flu vaccines are safe, effective, and protective for yourself and your entire community. The benefits of the flu vaccine far outweigh any potential mild side effects. In a study from the 2016-2017 flu season, the vaccine prevented an estimated 5.3 million cases of influenza and 85,000 hospitalizations.
The vaccine is also particularly important for pregnant and postpartum women. A 2018 study shows that pregnant women who received the vaccine were 40% less likely to be hospitalized with the flu. Plus, antibodies are passed from mother to child, which protects them from the flu for months after birth. This is particularly important because babies under 6 months are too young to receive the flu vaccine but are still at risk for the flu and severe complications.
I received my flu vaccine during pregnancy with both of my kids. Those first few months with a newborn are scary, knowing your child is so vulnerable to illnesses. It was top priority for me to do anything I could to protect them. If you have concerns about the flu vaccine during pregnancy, your OB/GYN is an excellent resource. Bring your questions to your next appointment!
WHERE TO GET A FLU VACCINE
We are able to get our vaccines all at the same time as a family through our daughters’ pediatrician’s office. Each year, they send out an email with dates and times so you can make a reservation. When you arrive, they usher you into a room, a nurse comes in with all of the shots and administers them, and then we’re ushered back out on our way! I love how easy and convenient it is. If you’ve been looking for an easy way to get your whole family vaccinated for the flu, check with your pediatrician’s office or with your PCP to see if they offer flu shot clinics.
If a clinic won’t work for you, many drugstores offer free flu vaccines through your insurance. The following stores often offer free flu clinics throughout flu season.
- Walmart Pharmacy
If you don’t have insurance, you can pay out of pocket for flu vaccines and you can expect to pay between $40 and $45. If you can afford it, this cost is well worth the benefits. Find flu vaccine locations near you by using the flu shot finder at Vaccines.gov.
MORE INFORMATION ON THE FLU VACCINE
For more information on the flu vaccine, please visit these resources:
Fighting the Flu (I Vaccinate)
Key Facts About Seasonal Flu Vaccine (CDC)
Recommendations for Prevention and Control of Influenza in Children (AAP)