Flu season is upon us, and now is the time to review how to best protect your child. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that all children ages 6 months and older, including adolescents, receive a flu shot this season with the goal of providing optimal protection against all strains of influenza. Influenza can be a serious illness, and as many parents are aware, influenza resulted in a record number of pediatric deaths this past year.
Injectable vs. Nasal Flu Vaccine
The AAP recommends the injectable flu vaccine as the primary choice for children and adolescents this season because the injectable vaccine has provided the most consistent protection against all strains of flu virus in recent years. FluMist, the nasal flu vaccine (also known as the live attenuated influenza vaccine) is also available this year. FluMist was off market for the past two flu seasons because it did not work as well against influenza A/H1N1, but has been re-introduced for 2018-2019.
When deciding what vaccine to give your child, it is important for parents to recognize the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) has approved FluMist. However, after the AAP reviewed the same data, the AAP concluded the injectable flu vaccine is preferred. This is because the injectable flu vaccine can offer your child better protection. Based on this, the AAP recommends that FluMist be reserved as a last resort for those who would not otherwise receive any vaccine at all. However, we do have the FluMist if you would like to choose this option for your child.
As a parent, the best thing you can do to protect your children from influenza is to get them vaccinated. Everyone around them should be vaccinated, too.
Influzena Vaccine and Egg Allergy
This year, the recommendations have changed. Everyone who has an egg allergy may receive any type of influenza vaccine. However, children who have egg allergies should receive their flu vaccine as a regular office visit so we can observe them after the flu vaccine is given. Thus, if your child has an egg allergy please do not come to the flu clinics, but instead please call for an appointment.
Does my child need a booster dose of Flu Vaccine?
The number of doses of influenza vaccine depends on your child’s age and vaccine history. Children 6 months through 8 years of age need two doses when it is the first time they are being vaccinated against influenza. Children 9 years of age and older require only one dose, regardless of prior vaccination history.
Bacterial meningitis (infection around the spinal cord and brain) or sepsis (infection in the blood stream) is an extremely serious illness. The bacterium Neisseria meningitis (meningococous) is a cause of meningitis or septic shock in adolescents and young adults.
Even with appropriate antibiotics and intensive care, between 10 and 15 percent of people who develop meningococcal disease die, and another 10 to 20 percent suffer complications, such as brain damage or limb loss. Read More
If you could protect your child against a cancer-causing virus with three doses of a safe and effective vaccine, why wouldn’t you? While most parents are committed to vaccinating their child against all vaccine preventable diseases, some parents are still reluctant to have their child receive the HPV vaccine. In response to these concerns, Willows Pediatrics wants to remind families about the benefits of the vaccine and why we recommend it.
Most of our patients at Willows Pediatrics have heard of the DPT vaccine, but fewer know a whole lot about the diseases it was designed to prevent. Today, in light of a recent outbreak in California, we would like to shed some light on the “P” in DPT: Pertussis. Before vaccines, pertussis (also known as whooping cough) was a common childhood disease that caused thousands of deaths annually back in the 1920s and 1930s. The development of a pertussis immunization in the 1940s and the acellular version (which we now use in the DPT shot) in the 1990s, has reduced the cases of this disease significantly.
However, pertussis still exists and is a highly contagious childhood disease. According to the CDC, a typical case of pertussis in children and adults starts with a cough and runny nose for one to two weeks, followed by weeks (or even months) of rapid coughing fits that sometimes end with a whooping sound. It is most often transmitted via airborne droplets from a cough or sneeze or direct contact with the respiratory secretions from an infected person. When it comes to symptoms, pertussis is most severe in infants. It can lead to pneumonia, apnea, neurological complications (such as seizures), dehydration and even death. Read More