A lot of parents are reticent to get their children a flu shot this late in the season because of the belief that we’re almost at the tail end of it and cases of the flu are tapering off. While this might be true for past years, when the season hit its peak by February and tapered off, this is not true for the season we’re currently in. The 2017-2018 flu season continues to rage on, showing no signs yet of slowing down. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says there are some signs the flu will continue to get worse.
Cases of the illness tend to falter and then drop off as the weather gets warmer, but we’ve also had some unseasonably cold days – in this part of the country anyway – so when the season will end is really an unknown at this point. That’s why I don’t want parents to incorrectly assume that they’re out of time to have their child vaccinated against the flu.
The entire country is in the midst of a rough – and deadly – flu season. More than 50 child deaths have occurred so far this year, and it appears the majority of these children were unvaccinated.
Flu Vaccine Provides Protection
Kids and older adults are the most vulnerable portions of our population when it comes to illness, and the flu is no exception. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that anyone more than 6 months old get a flu shot to help protect against the illness. And if you’ve got a little one at home younger than 6 months, it’s especially important for everyone in your family to get the shot – their health hinges on the people surrounding them being healthy.
The best way to protect your children and yourself is to get vaccinated. Even this late into the flu season, flu shots are recommended for anyone who hasn’t gotten one. It takes two weeks to reach peak immunity in the body and will help protect you for the latter half of the flu season. The flu vaccine has two key benefits: It helps prevent catching the flu, and makes the illness shorter and less severe if you or your children do come down with it.
Dr. Jessica Lanerie is a pediatrician at Kelsey-Seybold’s Sienna Plantation Clinic. After receiving her medical degree from Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Medicine in 2013, Dr. Lanerie completed a residency in Pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine in 2016. Her clinical interests include weight management, asthma and eczema.