Flu Vaccine May Be Dangerous To Your Child

September 26, 2015
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Flu season is just around the corner, which means now is the time to vaccinate your family against the influenza virus.

But who should get the flu shot, and what risks are involved, exactly?

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC,) everyone ages 6 months and older should plan on getting vaccinated for the flu each year. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) also supports this universal recommendation for children older than six months, adolescents and young adults.

There are certain groups of people who are considered at high risk from influenza because they are more likely to develop health complications from the flu virus, such as pneumonia. People who fall under this category should take extra care in making sure they are vaccinated annually against the flu. Since pregnant women already have a compromised immune systems, for example, they are listed among this high-risk group of individuals,along with children under age 5 — and especially under age 2 — people over 65, those with asthma and more.

In the same sense, there are a few exceptions to this universal recommendation. Individuals who have previously experienced a serious reaction to the flu vaccine should not get a flu shot. Additionally, people who are allergic to eggs should talk with their doctor before receiving a flu shot; although many individuals who have an egg allergy are actually able to get it safety.

Fortunately, the vast majority of people who receive the flu shot do not experience serious problems from it at all. Mild issues may include: soreness, redness or swelling where the shot was given, fainting, headache, fever, nausea or muscle aches, according to the CDC. If these issues do happen, they usually begin soon after the shot and last one to two days. Life-threatening reactions to vaccines, in general, are very rare. But if they do happen, it’s typically within a few minutes to a few hours after the shot was administered.

One point the CDC makes perfectly clear is that vaccines do not cause autism. “Some people have had concerns that ASD might be linked to the vaccines children receive, but studies have shown that there is no link between receiving vaccines and developing ASD,” the CDC says on its website. “In 2011, an Institute of Medicine (IOM) report on eight vaccines given to children and adults found that with rare exceptions, these vaccines are very safe.”

For parents who are concerned about their children handling yet another needle poke, there is a less-invasive flu vaccine option that will still protect against influenza. This vaccine comes in the form of a nasal spray, and can be given to individuals between the ages of 2 and 49, according to the AAP.

Ultimately, the choice of whether to have children receive the flu vaccine rests with parents and legal guardians. One poke could prevent serious health complications and weeks of missed school and/or work. But each family must decide for themselves if the risks are worth the benefits.

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