Boom! Pow! Wham!  Flu Shots Save the Day!
There’s a new super villain in the city, and the citizens are scared.  It travels through both night and day, remains hidden from view, and has officials on edge.  Many think it can’t be stopped but still others are ready to stand and fight.  And the name of this insidious foe?  Why, the flu of course!
According to the CDC, more than 20,000 children under the age of 5 are sent to the hospital each year because of the flu.  And you can bet that the number who have the flu but don’t go to the hospital is significantly larger.
In fact, because children under 5 are so susceptible to the flu, this population is one of the main groups that’s at risk of having serious complications from this virus.  To counteract this it’s recommended that all young children get a flu vaccine.

Types of Flu Your Young Child Can Get

There are 3 main flu viruses you need to be aware of:

  • Influenza A (H1N1);
  • Influenza A (H3N2);
  • Influenza B (often has 2 strains).

Most flu vaccines will only target one strain of the flu, and the sad part is that many of these vaccines aren’t the correct vaccines for the particular viruses spreading that year.  For instance, last year might have had a big H3N2 flu outbreak, and most vaccines will be for that strain.  But this year H1N1 could be spreading a lot, and that means many vaccines won’t be as effective.
So should you just not worry about it at all?  Of course not.  No one really knows what flu virus is going to be widespread each year until the season hits.  It’s therefore important to get you and your child vaccinated early with what the CDC thinks is the most appropriate vaccine.

Flu Season Isn’t Just in Fall and Winter

Flu season typically runs from October to May each year, so it’s never too late to get a flu vaccine for your young child.  Remember, many young children make it through winter just fine only to catch the flu virus come spring.  And there’s nothing worse than a child sick in bed when they’d rather be outside playing in the sun.

Reactions to Flu Shots in Young Children

The majority of young children will never have an issue with getting a flu shot.  Children with allergies, however, will want to take note.  If your child has egg allergies then flu vaccines won’t be a viable option – chicken eggs are used in the production process and a trace amount may remain.
And remember that you’ll typically need to get two doses, or two flu shots, each year.  If your child received one flu shot last year they may only need to get one this year as well; you’ll have to check with your doctor to be sure.

Additional Resources

Want to know more about young children and the flu?  There’s tons of information out there, and some of these links should help you with most of your questions.
CDC Article on Flu Shots and Children
If the Flu Vaccine a Good Idea for Your Family?
Treating Flu Symptoms
NHS Article on Children and Flue Vaccines
WebMD Article on Flu Nasal Sprays

Picture in this post by Brian Hoskins.