Flu Season 2021

Oct 11

Allegro Pediatrics

Flu Season 2021

by Allegro Pediatrics

Vicki Barag, nurse and Director of Clinic Services at Allegro Pediatrics, reviews the importance of the flu vaccine and answers common questions about the flu.

Why is the flu vaccine especially important this year?

The best thing we can do to protect ourselves and our community from preventable diseases is to receive vaccines. It is important to protect yourself and your loved ones from Influenza (flu) every year by getting a flu shot. Everyone 6 months of age and older is eligible to receive the flu vaccine.

The flu virus did not circulate widely last year due to mask wearing, remote work and school, improved hand hygiene, social distancing, and staying home to avoid crowds. This year, however, children are returning to in-person learning, many adults are returning to offices, and activities are resuming. These changes will likely result in a higher risk of the flu virus circulating, which will put an additional strain on our already maxed out healthcare systems.

It is important to remember that the flu shot is an annual vaccine. Everyone should be vaccinated each year because protection from the flu shot declines over time and the flu virus in circulation can change. The flu vaccine is updated every year in order to match the virus predicted to circulate that year.

Getting vaccinated against flu not only protects you but those around you including vulnerable populations like the sick and elderly.

Is it safe to get the flu vaccine and COVID-19 vaccine together?

It is safe for all eligible patients to receive both the flu shot and COVID-19 vaccine at the same time. Studies show that administering vaccines together is not only safe, but our bodies develop protection without a significant increase in side effects.

Is it a cold, the flu, or COVID-19?

Many viruses are circulating this time of year and it’s not always easy to tell the difference between a cold, the flu, COVID-19, or even allergies. We recommend your child be tested for COVID-19 if they have any cold or flu-like symptoms while we remain in the pandemic. This testing allows for early detection of COVID-19 and ensures the proper quarantine and isolation guidelines can be followed.

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What do I do if I suspect the flu?

Schedule an appointment for your child to be tested for the flu. Symptoms you may notice include a sudden onset of symptoms, high fever, body aches, chills, headache, cough, runny nose, and sore throat. Your child may feel very sick for the first 3-4 days – this is common. It may take 3-4 days for a fever to subside, 1-2 weeks for congestion or runny nose to stop, and up to 3 weeks for a cough to diminish. If your child is uncomfortable from a fever or body aches, you may give ibuprofen (if your child is over 6 months of age) or acetaminophen as needed. Antibiotics are not helpful for the flu. Most children get better with time, rest, and hydration.

If your child develops a complication of the flu or has a high-risk factor (children under age 5 and children with chronic medical conditions such as asthma or diabetes), please call your child's doctor.

Call your child’s doctor if your child has:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Retractions (pulling in between the ribs) occur
  • Dehydration
  • Earache or sinus pain
  • Fever lasting longer than 3 days or goes above 104° F (40.° C)
  • Cough lasting more than 3 weeks
  • You think your child needs to be seen
  • Your child becomes worse

Visit symptom checker on our website for homecare advice or call your child’s clinic to talk to a nurse about your child’s symptoms.

If my child develops the flu, what is the recommendation for quarantine to help prevent circulation?

If your child develops the flu or symptoms of the flu, they should stay home from school or childcare for at least 24 hours after their fever is gone without the use of fever-reducing medications. Limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.

How can I prevent the spread of flu?

The single best way to prevent the flu is by getting the vaccine every flu season. Getting the flu vaccine helps keep you from getting sick, and can also reduce symptoms if you get the flu. The flu shot prevents millions of people from getting the flu each year and reduces the risk of hospitalizations related to the flu virus.

Some other ways you can help prevent the spread of flu and other viruses include:

  • Washing your and your child’s hands frequently with soap and warm water. Use alcohol-based hand cleansers when soap and water are not available
  • Wear a mask when in public and around people you don’t live with. The social distancing and masking efforts being followed to reduce the spread of COVID-19 also help reduce spread of the flu and other viruses
  • Cover noses and mouths when coughing or sneezing. To cover your nose and mouth use tissue or catch your coughs and sneezes in your elbow
  • Disinfect and clean surfaces often
  • Stay home if you or child are experiencing any symptoms of illness

Please visit the Drive-Thru Flu Shot Clinics page of our website to schedule a flu shot for your child today!