We’re so grateful to Courtney Omell for partnering with us to share her story. Read the full piece on her blog here.
If you’re anything like our family, you’ve already been struck with at least one illness this winter. We’ve been lucky enough to just have colds, but I know several families whose kids have had RSV or the flu already this year. Illness is one of the hardest things to handle as a parent, and seeing our little ones sick and being unable to provide the relief they need is heartbreaking.
There is one thing you can do to help protect your children this time of year. December 5-9 is National Influenza Vaccination Week and if you or your kids haven’t already gotten flu shots, now is a great time to schedule it and get your family protected.
We’ve been warned that this year could be rough in terms of illness and getting the flu shot is one safe and proven way to help prevent one of the harmful illnesses going around this winter. My girls are at the doctors constantly this time of year for ear infections and there is no way I would risk them also catching the flu on top of all the colds they get! Both of my daughters are under 5 and Ellie is still under 2 years old, making them high risk for severe complications from the flu. The flu vaccines protects them both from illness and also eases this mama’s mind all season long.
The CDC recommends vaccinating children in the fall, but it’s never too late. If the viruses are still circulating, it’s still an ideal time to get vaccinated. There are some children who require two doses of the vaccine, so the earlier you can get them the first dose, the better chance of protection throughout the duration of flu season.
Flu Shot Benefits
The CDC, along with other trusted resources (which I list later on!), offer annual data on the flu vaccine and its effectiveness. If you are unsure about whether or not to get this year’s flu vaccine, please consider the following benefits of the flu vaccine.
The Flu Vaccine is Safe
For over 50 years, the flu vaccine has been researched, studied, and monitored to ensure its safety in children and adults. There have been hundreds of millions of Americans safely receiving the flu vaccine each year.
The Flu Vaccine Protects
During the 2019-2020 flu season, the vaccine prevented 7.5 million influenza illnesses, 3.7 million flu-related doctor visits, and 105,000 hospitalizations. Flu vaccines have been shown to decrease flu-related doctor visits by 40% to 60% in certain years.
Flu Vaccines Are Effective
Each season, the flu vaccine is updated to protect against constantly changing strains. The vaccines are updated and administered each year to be as effective as possible against the most dominant strains.
When Can Kids Get Flu Shots
Children can get flu shots as soon as they turn 6 months of age. The CDC recommends getting your child their first flu shot in the fall they turn 6 months old. Since 2010, it’s estimated that between 7,000 ad 28,000 children under 5 have been hospitalized due to the flu. Increase your child’s protection by speaking to your pediatrician when they visit for the 6-month checkup as part of their recommended vaccination schedule.
Where To Get Flu Shots
Your pediatrician’s office is a great place to start. During your child’s scheduled well-check, you can speak to their doctor about any concerns you have prior to scheduling the vaccine. Plus, while you’re there you can go ahead and schedule it. Some offices also offer flu shot clinics where you can have a convenient walk-in visit and get your child’s flu shot taken care of in minutes.
If you aren’t able to visit a pediatrician’s office, you can visit your local or state health department, pharmacies, churches, schools, and other local establishments may offer clinics where your child can safely get a flu shot.
Wherever you decide to get your flu shot this year, the most important thing is that you get it. It’s not too late and with family holiday visits on the horizon, now is a great time to protect your entire family.
More Information On the Flu Vaccine
For more information on the flu vaccine, please visit these resources: