As a parent, there’s no doubt that you’ve heard the news coverage about the severity of this year’s flu season. Parents want to do everything they can to protect their kids from the flu, so they’re washing their hands constantly, avoiding sick friends and family members, and taking hand sanitizer wherever they go. While all this is helpful, the strongest way to protect your kids from the flu is to get them the flu vaccine. But parents get concerned when they find out that the recommended time to get the flu shot is in late summer and early fall when the season’s flu vaccines are released. So how can you keep your kids safe if they haven’t yet received their vaccine?
For Kids Under the Age of Three
For children under the age of three, we still have vaccines available at Children’s Wellness Center. Just give us a call to schedule your flu shot appointment. The sooner your child receives their vaccine, the sooner they will lower their risk for a severe flu.
For Kids Ages Three and Up
We do not currently have any vaccines available for kids three years and older. While our previous supply is gone, we are hoping to receive more of these vaccines when they become available. In the meantime, some pharmacies will administer a flu vaccine for kids who have prescriptions from their pediatricians. If this is an option at your pharmacy, call Children’s Wellness Center.
If your child is over the age of three and doesn’t have a flu vaccine, it’s better to get it from the pharmacy now than to wait until new vaccines arrive. We aren’t able to guarantee when new vaccines will arrive or if we will receive them at all, so it’s best to get your child’s flu shot as soon as you can.
Other Ways to Protect Kids Against the Flu
Despite the rumors that circulate every year, it is not possible to get the flu from the flu vaccine. It takes 1-2 weeks after the flu shot to develop immunity, so it’s not uncommon for patients to get the flu in the meantime. Some people also have side effects that seem like mild flu symptoms, so this is often mistaken for the flu.
The flu vaccine goes a long way toward helping your child avoid the flu (or limiting the severity if they do get the flu). But you should combine the vaccine with other protective measures as well:
- Disinfect your hands and your kids’ hands in your home often.
- Teach your kids how to properly wash their hands: with soap and warm water for at least 30 seconds.
- Tell your kids not to touch their mouths, noses, or eyes.
- Make sure your kids have the school supplies they need so they don’t have to borrow them from someone who may be carrying the flu.
- If your child sneezes, make sure they sneeze into a tissue and throw it away immediately, and tell them not to touch anyone else’s used tissues.
- Boost your kids’ immune systems with healthy nutrition, plenty of exercise, and consistently strong sleeping patterns.
- Stash some hand sanitizer or disinfectant wipes in your purse, pocket, or vehicle for times when there isn’t a way to wash your kids’ hands.
- Teach your kids why it’s important never to share a drinking cup or eating utensil with someone.
It’s understandable to worry about your kids when you’re surrounded by news of the flu epidemic everywhere you turn. But all you need to do is follow the tips above, get a flu shot for your child if possible, and seek medical care if you start seeing serious flu symptoms (or if your high-risk child starts showing symptoms). For more kids’ health tips, follow Children’s Wellness Center on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.Tags: flu Atlanta, flu vaccine Atlanta, influenza Atlanta, is it too late to get a flu shot, where to get a flu shot in Atlanta