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Influenza Vaccines

Every year in the United States, seasonal flu kills 24,000 people and hospitalizes 200,000. Infants and young children, especially under the age of five, make up a significant percentage of this statistic as they are a high risk group for developing flu complications, which typically require hospitalization. It’s best to get your child vaccinated as soon as the vaccine becomes available in your area so that your child will be protected once flu season hits. Keep in mind that it takes about two weeks for antibodies to develop after receiving the shot, so keep in contact with Phoenix pediatricians to find out vaccine distribution dates.

In children, the following individuals will be most at risk for severe flu complications:

  • Children under the age of five, and especially under the age of two. Those under two typically experience the most severe flu complications.
  • Children with chronic health problems such as asthma or diabetes.
  • Children under 6 months of age. Children should not be vaccinated until they are at least 6 months old, so the best way to protect your baby is to make sure everyone around them has been vaccinated.

Getting a flu shot is the first step in prevention of the flu, which could be potentially life threatening to a child. Last year, 52% of children under the age of 17 received the flu vaccination with a large percentage of children under two making up this statistic. Of the babies and toddlers, aged 6 to 23 months, 75% were vaccinated.

In addition to the vaccine, you and your family should also practice good hygiene to avoid spread of the flu. Don’t cough or sneeze into your hand, but rather into your arm or shirt. Make sure to wash your hands frequently throughout the day using an anti-viral soap. Also, taking antiviral medications can help treat and prevent influenza for those more susceptible to complications.

Flu seasons are unpredictable; they can turn out to be fairly mild to very extreme, so it’s important to prepare your children by getting a flu vaccine prior to the start of the season. The knowledgeable and friendly Phoenix doctors at Pediatrix pride themselves on treating children with only the best care to ensure that they grow happily and healthily. In order to keep your children protected, our Phoenix pediatricians would be more than happy to answer any questions or concerns you may have about this upcoming flu season. At Pediatrix, our Phoenix doctors strive for excellence and provide the most specialized care for each child. Please give us a call at (602) 866-0550 or visit us online today.

 

Sincerely,

 

Subir K. Mitra, MD, FAAP

Posted in Blog on October 5th, 2012