Each fall we read reports that this will be a really bad flu season. Except that this year may actually be a bad flu season.
The CDC often bases flu season predictions on the preceding flu season in the Southern Hemisphere. Not that there is any absolute guarantee, but Australia has experienced one of its largest flu outbreaks. 70,000 cases have been reported until now with 30,000 in the month of August. The elderly and children were the most severely affected with 52 deaths so far in Australia.
The flu vaccine is certainly not 100% effective in protecting us against the flu, but on average it seems to be between 50-60% effective (depending on the year). 50-60% is certainly better than 0!
Some facts about the flu vaccine for kids:
1. All children over 6 months can and should get the flu vaccine. If they are between 6 months and 8 years of age and they have not received previous doses, they should get 2 vaccines 4 weeks apart.
2. All pregnant women should be vaccinated.
3. The Flu vaccine does NOT cause the flu!
4. There are no contraindications to having the vaccine if you have an egg allergy.
5. If you are worried about Thimerisol (a preservative), there are Thimerisol free formulations.
6. There is no intranasal formulation available – sadly just the shot.
7. The flu is serious. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, each year an average of 200,000 Americans are hospitalized with flu-related complications, and there were 101 reported pediatric deaths in the 2016-2017 season.
Bottom line – get vaccinated!
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