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Should your kids get a flu vaccine?

Influenza – most commonly known as the flu – is a potentially serious disease that can lead to hospitalization and sometimes even death. Every flu season is different, and while the impact of recent COVID-related isolation and social distancing has limited the spread of flu in recent years, this year’s flu season is expected to start early and potentially be harsh.

The drop in flu cases during 2020 and 2021 has been accompanied by a drop in flu vaccines, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which means more Americans are potentially exposed to the flu.

Vaccination has been shown to have many benefits including reducing the risk of flu illnesses, hospitalizations, and even the risk of flu-related death in children. While some people who get a flu vaccine may still get sick, vaccination has been shown in several studies to reduce severity of illness.

Need a reason to vaccinate your child? Here are six.

1. A flu shot can save a life.

Every year, about 200,000 people are hospitalized because of the flu. The flu can cause some serious complications that sometimes require hospitalization, such as dehydration, worsening of chronic illnesses, bacterial pneumonia, ear infections, and sinus infections.

2. The flu shot helps build herd immunity.

Herd immunity happens when a large number of people in a community develop immunity – or the body’s own protection – against a contagious disease. This immunity can happen through vaccination and can protect the most vulnerable people in a community, particularly those who are too young to receive vaccines or can’t develop immunity on their own.

3. Most people are eligible to get the flu shot.

Everyone 6 months of age and older should get an influenza vaccine every season, with rare exceptions. Talk to your doctor or one of the medical professionals at FirstKids about any condition that might impact your child’s possible vaccine.

4. The flu shot changes each year.

Before each flu season, the CDC determines which strains of influenza are most likely to occur that year. The vaccine reduces your chances of contracting certain strains of the virus and if you do get sick, having the vaccine can significantly reduce the severity of your symptoms.

5. The sooner you get the flu shot, the better.

Flu season usually starts sometime in October and can last until May, so it is important to get vaccinated early. September and October are the best months to get vaccinated, but if you haven’t yet, it’s not too late.

6. You won't get the flu from the flu shot.

A common misconception is that you can contract the flu from a flu vaccine, but that is not possible because the shot uses a deadened form of the virus.

The vaccine is not just for kids.

The best protection against influenza is to vaccinate everyone in your household. This greatly reduces the likelihood of catching the flu or someone bringing it home from school or the office. That means even family members who don’t live with you have some protection, particularly those who might be at greatest risk from contracting the flu, such as grandparents, other elderly family members, or people with chronic health conditions.

Choose FirstKids for Your Vaccination Needs

If you’re considering having your children – or any members of your family – vaccinated against this year’s influenza strain, the medical professionals at FirstKids Urgent Care are prepared to help. We can provide you with information you need to make an informed decision, and we can administer vaccines onsite. We are a walk-in facility, so there’s no appointment necessary, but you can schedule an appointment online here if you prefer. FirstKids accepts all major insurance plans, as well as Medicaid and self-pay patients as well.

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