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What’s New with the Flu - 2019

Flu Vaccine - Pediatrics Houston

What’s New with the Flu- 2019

It’s that time of year again- time to get your flu vaccines.  Here are some frequently asked questions about the flu:

1. Who should get a flu vaccine?

The CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend that all kids ages 6 months and older receive the vaccine. 

2. Why should I get my kid vaccinated?

While it’s true that most kids will have mild or moderate misery (3-7 days of fever, body aches, headache, stuffy/runny nose, watery eyes, etc) every year some children die from influenza.  Last flu season the number was 138 children, half of whom were previously healthy kids with no underlying medical problems.  Vaccinating kids also protects you, their grandparents and other friends and family members who may have medical problems that make them more vulnerable to serious complications with the flu.   

3. Last year I got the vaccine and still got the flu.  Why should I bother this year? OR I never get sick.  Why do I need a flu shot?

The vaccine is not perfect.  Some people will get the vaccine and still get the flu.  There are several different types of flu, and sometimes you can catch a type that the vaccine didn’t protect against.  Or your body may have not made a good enough immune response to the vaccine to protect you from the flu.  But I like to think of the vaccine like a seat belt.  You shouldn’t not wear a seat belt because you never get in an accident.  You never know when you are going to need it.  And, if you were in an accident and wearing your seat belt and still got hurt, would you stop wearing your seat belt in the car because it didn’t fully protect you?  No- it still makes sense to do everything you reasonably can to protect your children from harm.  This includes an annual flu vaccine.

4. My child hates shots. Can he get the nasal spray?

Our office is not offering the FluMist nasal spray this year, due to concerns about effectiveness in the past.  Maybe next year…

5. How many flu vaccines does he/she need?

If your child didn’t receive the vaccine last year and he/she is younger than 9 years old then they should receive 2 doses one month apart.  If they have had atleast 2 doses of flu vaccine in the past then they only need one dose.

6. What about H1N1? What’s in this years vaccine?

The H1N1 strain of flu is still going around, so this year’s vaccine includes it. It protects against 2 different strains of Influenza A and 2 different strains of Influenza B.

7. Why do I need a new flu shot every year?

Our antibodies, which protect us against the flu, decline over the year after getting the vaccine.  Scientists are working on developing a new kind of flu vaccine that will protect against the flu for many years, so hopefully one day these annual flu shots will only be a distant, painful memory!

8. My child is allergic to eggs.  Can she get the flu shot?

If she can eat cooked eggs, yes.  If she has had hives after eating eggs but no problems with breathing or recurrent vomiting, yes.  If she had difficulty breathing after eating eggs- yes, but with medical supervision.  Call us and we can discuss the best way to do this.

Jennifer Macia MD

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