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Why You Should Get The Flu Vaccine – National Immunization Awareness Month #sponsored #NIAM

By: Donna Chaffins | Date: August 16, 2013 | Categories: Children, Education, Family and Health, Information, Parenting

This keeping you and your family flu-free post has been brought to you by The Motherhood and the CDC in conjunction with National Immunization Awareness Month….

I’ve never had the flu. *Knocks* wood. My son has never had the flu. *Knocks* wood again, even louder. Maybe we’ve just been lucky, but I think the main reason is that we get our flu vaccine.

I never got a flu shot before my son was born, but after he came into my life, I knew I wanted to protect him from as many things as possible, the flu among them. He got his first flu vaccination at 6 months of age and has had the vaccine or flu mist every single year since. He is almost eleven (sigh) now. I trust our pediatrician and he highly recommended we start flu immunization at 6 months. I did do my own research, as well. I still feel good about my decision.

I volunteer at his school a lot and I’m around all those precious children that I would not want to give the flu to, nor do I want to get the flu from them. Keeping my son safe and healthy is my motivator. A good one, indeed.

I do know that the flu vaccine and immunizations in general can be a hot button among many parents, but for me personally, the risks of vaccinations outweigh the risks of the diseases/illnesses my son can get if he isn’t immunized.

What exactly is the flu?

Influenza (the flu) is an infection of the nose, throat, and lungs caused by influenza viruses. There are many different influenza viruses that are constantly changing. They cause illness, hospital stays and deaths in the United States each year. The flu can be very dangerous for children. Each year about 20,000 children younger than 5 years old are hospitalized from flu complications, like pneumonia.

There are many reasons why you should get the flu vaccine, in my humble opinion, but as I said, the most important reason for me is to protect my son.

First Day of School 8_12_13

The reason we get the flu vaccination!

The three best ways I can help my son avoid the flu

  1. Get our flu shot annually.  My son gets the flu mist, but my husband and I get the flu vaccine.
  2. Wash our hands – and wash them often. It has been proven that hand washing is your best defense against getting sick and spreading illnesses. The best way to wash your hands is to soap them up and rub vigorously to get them all sudsy and sing “Happy Birthday” all the way through two times. It takes at least 20 seconds to remove germs.
  3. Avoid being around someone who has the flu and/or do not send my child to school if he is sick. If your child isn’t well and you send him/her to school and another child unknowingly has the flu (especially during flu season), your child will be highly susceptible with their weakened immune system to getting the flu.

Other ways to protect your child against the flu

  • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue. Throw tissue in trash after you use it.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. Germs spread this way.
  • Keep surfaces like bedside tables, surfaces in the bathroom, kitchen counters, and toys clean by wiping them down with a household disinfectant according to directions on the product label.

These everyday steps are great ways to reduce all sorts of illnesses, not just the flu.

The flu vaccine is important for pregnant women, more so than non-pregnant women, because the flu can cause severe illness in pregnant women than women who are not pregnant.

Here are some more facts/info about the flu vaccine:

  • To protect against the flu, the first and most important thing you can do is to get a flu vaccine for yourself and your child. If you’re a parent check out http://www.cdc.gov/flu/parents
  • Vaccination is recommended for everyone 6 months and older.
  • Ask your child’s doctor when they expect flu vaccines to be available in their office, and schedule an appointment for flu vaccination.
  • An influenza vaccination is the best method for preventing flu and its potentially severe complications in children.
  • It’s especially important that young children and children with long term health conditions (like asthma, diabetes or disorders of the brain or nervous system) get vaccinated. These children are at higher risk of serious flu complications (like pneumonia) if they get the flu.
  • The flu can be very dangerous for children. Each year about 20,000 children younger than 5 years old are hospitalized from flu complications, like pneumonia.
  • Children 6 months through 8 years of age who are getting vaccinated for the first time will need two doses of vaccine, spaced at least 28 days apart.
  • The risk of serious flu complications requiring hospitalization is highest among children younger than 6 months of age, but they are too young to be vaccinated. The best way to protect them is to make sure people around them are vaccinated.
  • CDC recommends a three-step approach to fighting the flu: annual vaccination, everyday preventive actions, and use of antiviral drugs to treat flu, if your doctor prescribes them.

Visit the CDC for more helpful information like those listed above and http://vaccine.healthmap.org/ for locations offering flu vaccines near you.

Do you and/or your children get an annual flu shot / flu mist?

23 Responses to Why You Should Get The Flu Vaccine – National Immunization Awareness Month #sponsored #NIAM

  1. alecia says:

    Never have we gotten the flu shot and we never will. We homeschool so our exposure is significantly less, but growing up in public school I never received the shot. No one in our family has a compromised immune system so we just don’t feel it’s necessary.
    Our lack of flu shots, and over all avoidance of disinfectants is working for us (though I am loving the Lysol spray I received from BzzAgent). Good on you doing what you feel is best for your little ones. 🙂

  2. anne conover says:

    I’d have to agree. I feel strongly against flu shots for so many reasons. We don’t get it, never have, and we never get the flu. I agree that some with compromised immune systems may need to, but for healthy individuals it’s better to let your body fight it. I hate the pressure put on people this time of year, like there’s something wrong with your for not wanting it. My body – my choice. Your body – your choice. :0)

  3. Marcie W. says:

    The one year I gave my children the flu shot they all got more colds than ever before. I now rely on hand washing, sanitizer, and daily multivitamins and vitamin D3 gummies for overall protection. Here’s hoping all of our choices keep our little ones healthy!

  4. Angela says:

    I have asthma, so I am sure to get it every year. I can’t believe it’s already time to think about flu season.

  5. Shell Feis says:

    I typically don’t get it, but I will be getting a flu shot for sure this year since I’m pregnant & am way more likely to get sick & have it rough. {&Can’t take the medicines to help with symptoms!}

  6. Robin Gagnon says:

    We used to get it when my daughter was very young, but one year she got sick from the shot for 2 days.

  7. Amber K says:

    I’ve never had the flu vaccine myself but my son gets it every year.

  8. Mellisa says:

    Our family gets a flu shot every year.

  9. Stefanie says:

    Some years we get them, and others we don’t. I’m not sure yet what we’ll do this year.

  10. I will most definitely be getting it this year; I never had the vaccine before but last I did get the Flu and it was absolutely miserable. Since I’ll be teaching this year I know I’ll be even more exposed to the flu and everything else out there!

  11. We get it. Both me and my son have asthma. Not worth the risk.

  12. I’m random when it comes to the flu shot. Sometime we do and sometimes we don’t.

  13. Courtney says:

    I didn’t get it while pregnant because I was so scared of the complications that I had seen in some of my students.. That said I should have gotten it since I worked with children but thankfully I was fine 🙂

  14. LyndaS says:

    I pretty much have to (or really, really need to) get a flu vaccine since I work around people in the health care industry.

  15. Lolo says:

    This is such a tough decision. I am not sure what I will do this year. Last year my son and I got a horrible stomach virus but the flu shot is not for that.

  16. We do not get the flu shot here. Two of our six kids are Autistic. No, I don’t avoid the shot for that reason. I avoid it because for kids who do not like being touched by strangers and who freak out more than normal kids at shot time, to me it’s just not worth the stress on them. We wash our hands, use hand sanitizer and cough into a tissue or our elbows.

  17. Dallie Davis says:

    I live in a house with my elderly great-grandmother & due to her age & lowered immune system, the flu could turn very serious. But, i have never received a flu shot. And both of us never get the flu. So, i feel that it is different for each person.

  18. I’ve only gotten the vaccine once and of course, that year I got the flu. I haven’t gotten one since and I don’t get it for my children either.

  19. Gloria Walshver says:

    My husband and I never get the Flu shot and we’re happy about it.

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