I love fall. It’s my favorite time of year: pumpkin spice, beautiful weather and fall sports. And then there are the flu shot clinics. At my office, we offer drive through flu shot clinics where the mood is lightened with Disney music and bubbles. Some families choose to go to their local pharmacy. Other kids are happy to get their flu shot at school. Location doesn’t matter as long as everyone gets their vaccine.
The last few flu seasons have been mild. This is likely secondary to the infection control measures in place to control the spread of COVID 19. Once the masks came off this spring, flu came back with a vengeance. And flu has already reared its head this fall.
Children, particularly those under the age of two, are vulnerable to influenza and may be at higher risk for complications and hospitalizations. With the increased presence of multiple respiratory viruses this fall, some viruses that are occurring out of season and all at once, the flu vaccine is more important than ever.
Some parents are hesitant to get their children vaccinated against influenza. They may be concerned that “it doesn’t work” or “can give you the flu.” Even in seasons where there is a poor match between circulating virus and those strains contained in the yearly vaccine, the risk of complication and length of illness is still greatly reduced. And the flu shot doesn’t give someone the flu. It’s medically impossible. Some patients, especially those receiving the vaccine for the first time, may experience mild side effects including fatigue and achiness. This is a normal reaction and a sign that our bodies are reacting appropriately and learning how to fight the virus.
Get your flu shot at the grocery store, or the pharmacy, or the health department, or anywhere that’s convenient for your family. Just get it by Halloween so that you and your family can say “BOO” to the flu!