A recent CDC study pointed out that even healthy children can develop complications from influenza, such as severe pneumonia or death. Young infants, children with other illnesses, pregnant women and the elderly are most at risk for severe cases of the flu.
Many parents mistakenly refer to a stomach illness with vomiting and diarrhea as the flu. Actually, the flu is a respiratory illness with high fever, headaches, body aches, chills, cough and congestion. It lasts five to seven days and is very contagious.
The flu vaccine is safe
The vaccine has been studied extensively and is safe. Almost everyone over 6 months of age can get the vaccination. There are a variety of options, including a nasal mist for individuals over age 2 and egg-free vaccines for adults. There are few reasons people should not get the vaccine.
It is important to get the vaccine every year since the illness or immunization last season will not protect you this season. The contents of the vaccine differ based on what flu germs are most likely to be causing illness this season.
Protect yourself and protect your family. Talk with your primary care provider about the flu vaccine.
- Lyn Ranta, MD, director of Physician Affairs, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin
Dr. Ranta is a co-leader of Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin’s immunization initiative, and she treated children as a community pediatrician for more than 20 years.