Once the flu season is in, kids are among the ones most susceptible to it. Flu or influenza season refers to the time when the common cold and cough are prevalent—often when the climate changes from hot to cold and vice versa—and the flu virus can easily spread.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), flu season can start as early as October and peaks in December to February and may last till May—although anyone can catch it any day and time. Moreover, the CDC warns that flu is “dangerous to children” and may result in death, with severe complications most possible when kids are under 2 years.
Each year, the CDC says an average of 20,000 kids younger than 5 years old get the flu and are hospitalized. Kids with chronic health problems are at high risk of getting flu complications.
How to Protect Your Kid
CDC advises parents to have their toddlers vaccinated each year for protection. It’s the best protection they can have against flu. Other people believe that aside from getting a flu shot, eating healthy, resting well, drinking enough fluids, taking Vitamin C and washing hands often can help.
Traditional flu vaccines, which doctors call trivalent vaccines, are designed to fight three flu viruses:
- Influenza A (H1N1)
- Influenza A (H3N2)
- Influenza B
Aside from these three, there are four more flu vaccines that are developed to fight the same viruses plus an extra B virus. These vaccines are called quadrivalent vaccines.
Kids 6 months or older can get a standard dose of trivalent shots. With the quadrivalent vaccine, one brand is good for kids 6 months or older. Some brands are good for kids 3 years and older. A nasal quadrivalent spray is available for healthy kids 2 to 8 years of age.
What If Your Kid Does Not Get the Shot?
You may opt not to have your kid get flu vaccines, but he or she may become susceptible to flu. And as the CDC has warned, flu is dangerous for kids and may lead to complications. Other alternative flu protection measures are healthy food, Vitamin C rich fruits and kids’ Vitamin C supplement, and regular washing of hands, which some doctors say can prevent flu effectively.
It’s better to consult with your pediatrician about the pros and cons of flu vaccines. But the best decision is to have your toddler get the annual flu shot—plus the alternative flu protection measures. Remember, it’s all about your kid’s health and future.