As a parent, the thought of your little one getting the flu can be terrifying. Protect your baby by learning about the flu vaccine for babies, including the safest time to vaccinate and why it’s crucial for their health.
New parents may feel overwhelmed by the number of shots their baby needs regarding vaccinations. Here, though, is one less thing on your plate: Babies aged six months and up can safely receive the flu vaccination. It’s vital to keep kids under five safe from the flu and its dangerous complications, such as pneumonia and dehydration. Here’s what you need to know about the flu shot for babies.
Why Babies Need the Flu Shot
In addition to experiencing more severe symptoms from the flu, young children are more likely to develop pneumonia and become severely dehydrated. They might also have a worsening of preexisting diseases including asthma or heart disease, as well as ear and sinus infections.
Since 2010, the CDC has said that between 7,000 and 28,000 kids younger than five years old have been hospitalized because of problems caused by the flu. Very rarely, the flu can be fatal. Since 2010, the flu has killed between 130 and 1,200 children under the age of 18 per year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Infants who have been immunized are less likely to become ill from the flu. And if they do develop influenza, the flu vaccine can make the disease less severe, which minimizes the chance of hospitalization and death.
Negative Reactions of the Flu Shot in Infants
It’s a prevalent myth that getting vaccinated against influenza can make you sick. According to the CDC, this is because most flu vaccinations employ inactivated viruses or only one gene from a virus (rather than the complete virus). But you should know that your infant may experience some minor adverse effects, such as a slight fever, pains, and possibly some soreness or redness at the injection site. These signs and symptoms typically resolve themselves within two days.
Severe allergic responses to the shot (often attributable to egg protein in the shot) are uncommon. But you should contact a doctor right away if your kid develops symptoms such as difficulty breathing, wheezing, hives, dizziness, rapid heartbeat, or any other serious condition.
Is It Safe to Vaccinate Infants Against the Flu?
Some parents are concerned about the use of thimerosal in vaccines, despite the fact that the flu shot for infants can reduce the risk of several health concerns. False associations between this mercury-based preservative and autism in early childhood have been made in the past. When it comes to thimerosal in vaccines and autism, however, study after study has found no such correlation. In addition, thimerosal is only included in multi-dose vials of flu vaccination, and parents can always request shots without the preservative.
According to the available research, the potential dangers of giving a baby a flu shot outweigh the risks of the shot itself. According to the CDC, “over the past 50 years, hundreds of millions of Americans have had flu shots without getting sick,” and there is a lot of evidence showing that flu vaccines are safe.
When Should a Baby Get Vaccinated?
The influenza vaccine is not suitable for infants under the age of six months. Every year, everyone over the age of 6 months should get a flu shot.
What, then, exactly, is the optimal moment to purchase it? The CDC advises receiving the flu shot no later than the end of October due to the vaccine’s need for two to four weeks to reach full efficacy and the subsequent increase in risk over the fall and winter. Yet, even if you wait to get the vaccine, you’ll be safe against the disease.
Can You Describe the Baby Flu Shot?
Anyone 6 months or older can get a flu shot, and there is also a nasal vaccine spray (approved for people ages 2 through 49 without underlying medical issues like asthma). The flu shot is probably something that will be given to your baby.
Two doses of the flu vaccine are required for children less than nine who have never been vaccinated. Your child’s developing immune system will have time to respond to the first dose before the second is given, around a month later.
It must be stressed that vaccination is not without flaws. Success rates for vaccines often fall in the 40-60% range since they are designed to protect against the viruses that are most likely to cause sickness in a given year. However, the vaccine’s benefits outweigh the risks, especially for infants, who are particularly vulnerable to severe flu problems that might arise.
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