Weighing the Pros and Cons of the Flu Vaccine
A common question parents are faced with each fall is whether or not to vaccinate their child (and themselves) against the flu. The influenza is responsible for approximately 24,000 deaths each year. However, the controversy surrounding last years’ vaccines’ efficacy has created even more doubt in the minds of parents as to whether or not it is worthwhile to vaccinate. Like any good decision making process, it is important to weigh the pros and cons. Here are the pros and cons of the flu vaccine.
- According to the CDC, receiving the flu vaccine helps reduce your risk of getting the flu by at least 70%.
- The flu vaccine protects the people around you who are susceptible to illness from getting the flu.
- If you do contract the flu, the vaccine can make the illness milder than if you hadn’t received it.
- The flu vaccine provides added protection for those prone to flu complications such as those with weakened immune systems such as people over age 50 and women who are pregnant.
- Studies show that the flu vaccine lowers the rate of flu-related hospitalizations in older adults (age 50 and up) by 61%.
- It is not effective against all strands of the flu. There are many strands of the flu and the vaccine protects against the three or four viruses that research suggests will be most common for that year. There is up to a 20% chance that you may still end up with the flu because the version of the flu vaccine you receive is not the same as what is going around.
- Some people experience side effects such as tenderness at the injection site, low-grade fever and body aches. The nasal spray version can cause a runny nose, headache, fever, muscle aches and vomiting.
- The flu vaccine takes approximately two weeks to take effect; therefore there is the potential for contracting the flu during this time and important to get vaccinated early in the fall before flu season starts.
The CDC recommends that people receive the flu vaccine in October. The flu vaccine is recommended for children ages 6 months and over. It lasts at least four to six months, which will protect North Carolinians during our flu season.
The flu vaccine is not for everyone. People who have certain allergies need to take caution. People who have a severe reaction to eggs should only receive the recombinant (or inactivated) vaccine.
For more information or to schedule an appointment with one of our pediatric providers for your child to receive their flu vaccine, call 910.486.5437 today. You can also visit us online at RainbowPeds.net.