Have you got a flu shot for your child?
Created by Ankita A Talwar Updated on Dec 12, 2015
A change in season can sometimes spell misery for parents—runny noses, fever, coughing, body ache—all come back in severity in a package called flu or influenza. And no child is spared, really. What’s worse is that a bout of flu leaves your child irritable, cranky, unwilling to eat, a little weak and a total handful for the parents.
But then there is a possible way around it—the flu vaccine. Here’s what you need to know about it.
How do flu vaccines work?
Just like any other vaccines, flu vaccines cause antibodies to develop in the body about two weeks after vaccination. These antibodies then provide protection against that particular strain of virus.
Traditional flu vaccines (called “trivalent” vaccines) are made to protect against three flu viruses; an influenza A (H1N1) virus, an influenza A (H3N2) virus, and an influenza B virus. There are also flu vaccines made to protect against four flu viruses (called “quadrivalent” vaccines). These vaccines protect against the same viruses as the trivalent vaccine and an additional B virus.
Who needs it?
Experts recommend that these vaccines can be given to children starting as young as 6 months and older. It is suggested that the vaccine should be given each year. Your doctor will tell you about which vaccine is best for you.
When should I get my child vaccinated?
Flu vaccination should begin soon after the vaccine becomes available, if possible by October. However, as long as flu viruses are circulating, vaccination should continue to be offered throughout the flu season, even in January or later. It takes about 2 weeks for the antibodies to develop in the body and provide protection, so it is best to get vaccinated just before the onset of the influenza season.
Where can I get it?
Flu vaccines are available with the doctors, paediatricians, in hospitals and even with chemists. They are intramuscular and can be given by anyone adept at giving injections.
Why do I need a flu vaccine every year?
A flu vaccine is needed every season for two reasons. First, the body’s immune response from vaccination declines over time, so an annual vaccine is needed to boost it. Second, because flu viruses are constantly changing, the formulation of the flu vaccine is reviewed each year and updated to keep up with changing flu viruses.
Can I still get flu even after vaccination?
The efficacy of the flu vaccine depends on many factors including age, health, risk sensitivity (pregnancy, diabetes, medical conditions etc.), and also whether the influenza virus circulating in the community is closely matched to the viruses in the vaccine or not.
But it's not possible to predict with certainty which flu viruses will predominate during a given season. Also, flu viruses are constantly changing (called “antigenic drift”)l. They can change from one season to the next or they can even change within the course of one flu season. Experts must pick which viruses to include in the vaccine many months in advance in order for vaccine to be produced and delivered on time. Because of these factors, there is always the possibility of a less than perfect match.
But that does not reduce the efficacy of the vaccine. Antibodies made in response to vaccination with one flu virus can sometimes provide protection against different but related viruses as flu vaccine is designed to protect against three or four flu viruses.
So, check with your doctor about getting your child vaccinated.
| Dec 08, 2016
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| Feb 15, 2016
I completely agree with priyanka. flu vaccines are not of much benefit as there are hundreds of viruses for cold and cough and the child cant be vaccinated for each of them. Instead there should be focus on increasing the immunity of the child.
| Jan 17, 2016
In which month we have to give the MMR vaccienation to below 1 year baby. My baby is now 6 months old.
| Jan 14, 2016
Very informative article. Thanks for sharing.
| Dec 20, 2015
Please dont do d mistake of rushing to get every other vaccine which comes in d market for ur children. they are just for d benefit of pharmaceutical companies and having so many side effects for children
| Dec 20, 2015
Flu vaccines r only indicated for high risk babies or with family history of flu, asthma etc. Otherwise flu shots unnecessarily given can do more harm by decreasing immunity of child. Normal cold and cough improves immunity and disease fighting strength of children.
| Dec 14, 2015
why to. hav flu vaccine wen. u dnt hv tat risk of hving flu. it shud b advised only if its epidemic around ur city. n. as such a baby of 6months old is well protected from. outside atmosphere untill d members of house tak gd care of their own health. taking unnecessary shots wud only lead to decreased immunity.
| Dec 14, 2015
Well researched ! Thanks for sharing!