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.
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.
We have provided over 40,000 doses of the flu vaccine to patients in our community so far this year. We encourage you to ask about a flu shot the next time your child is in for an in-clinic visit. Due to continued staffing limitations, we are partnering with community pharmacies to ensure all families can get protected from flu. Please visit Vaccines.gov to find a convenient time and location for your child to receive their flu shot.
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.
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.
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:
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 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.
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: