[What You Need to Know]
During the flu season of 2017-2018, more than 710,000 people were hospitalized for influenza and as many as 80,000 people died as a result of the flu.
There are many myths and questions surrounding the subject to make parents wonder, “Is it really worth it to get flu shots for kids?”
Here we debunk the myths and answer some common questions so you can make the right, healthy choice for your family.
Myth: The Flu Is Just Like a Bad Cold or a 24-Hour Stomach Bug
Influenza and the common cold do share a few similar symptoms (sore throat, runny nose, cough), but colds do not generally result in serious health problems like the flu can cause.
Influenza is also sometimes misunderstood to be similar to the misnamed 24-hour stomach flu (a variety of viruses can cause gastrointestinal infections). The flu, however, is a virus that affects the lungs and respiratory system, not the gastrointestinal system.
The influenza virus can quickly progress into pneumonia, rapid respiratory failure, congestive heart failure, severe dehydration, shock, and death, particularly in children. The flu can cause the muscles, heart, and brain to become inflamed which can lead to an emergency condition called Sepsis. Additionally, the virus can weaken the immune system and make it possible for a secondary infection to take hold which can ultimately cause organ failure.
Myth: The Likelihood of Catching Influenza is Too Low to Worry
About Getting a Flu Shot.
On average, 5-20% of the US population will catch the flu virus every year. You are at especially high risk if you:
- Are an infant or child
- Are older than 65
- Are pregnant
- Have a chronic health condition such as asthma or diabetes
- Live, work, or travel to a heavily populated place with close contact with others (college dormitory, military barracks, nursing home, childcare facility, school, hospital, office building)
Myth: The Flu Shot Is Not Very Effective
While the effectiveness of the flu vaccine varies from year to year depending on predicted virus strains and specific formulations, vaccinated individuals are 40-65% less likely to catch influenza. Additionally, the flu vaccine significantly reduces (74%) the risk of flu-related pediatric intensive care unit admission, and significantly reduces the risk of dying.
When an individual does get sick with influenza, the symptoms are much less severe if they’ve been vaccinated.
Common Questions Regarding Flu Shots
Below are a few of the most common questions regarding flu shots.
Who Should Get the Flu Shot?
Almost everyone should be vaccinated against influenza. This means you should get flu shots for babies in Las Vegas as long as they are at least 6 months old. The only exceptions to this recommendation include individuals who:
- Are less than 6 months old
- Are currently sick with a moderate-to-severe illness
- Have had a rare, serious reaction to a flu shot
- Have a severe chicken egg allergy
- Have Guillain-Barré syndrome
How Much Does It Cost to Get a Flu Shot?
Most health insurance providers, including Medicare and Medicaid, give either full coverage or heavily discounted coverage for an annual flu vaccine. Contact your insurance company to find out more.
Where Can I Get a Flu Shot?
Nevada Pediatric Specialists offers flu shots for kids & babies in Las Vegas or Henderson, NV. Contact us today!
Visit: 3201 South Maryland Parkway, Suite 608, Las Vegas, NV 89109
Click: Patient forms