BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) - Influenza, the virus that's been classified as an epidemic - hitting communities and households hard. But when it comes to kids, how do you keep them healthy and flu-free?
Dr. Steven Lana, managing partner at Delaware Pediatrics, says while common sense healthy habits are important, especially during the winter season, the flu shot is even more important when it comes to protecting your kids and helping them beat the virus - one known for spreading rather quickly.
“The virus starts replicating in your nasal passages and in your respiratory track and is shed to others even before you feel sick, for up to a day before you feel sick, so that’s what makes this virus spread so quickly,” Dr. Lana emphasized.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends the anyone 6 months and older get vaccinated as research shows it significantly reduces a child’s risk of catching a severe case or perhaps even a fatal one.
“It’s not just for the children who are very young or the children that have chronic medical conditions making them medically frail, even low risk children who may appear perfectly healthy, are at risk,” Dr. Lana continued.
The flu, whose symptoms often mirror those of a common cold, can be fatal if not addressed immediately, part of the reason Dr. Lana and the AAP recommend that those able get vaccinated sooner than later.
Nonetheless, controversy surrounding the conversation on whether or not the vaccine is effective and appropriate for kids lives on.
“Given the choice between a 40% chance of not getting the flu or if you do get it it will be much milder because you’ve already had some partial immunity, versus zero protection, I think the choice is obvious,” Lana expressed.
The flu season runs from September all the way through the end of May, making vaccines available as early as the end of August.
As for possibly one of the biggest points of concern among parents, Dr. Lana offered this, “the biggest misconception is that if you get the vaccine then you get the flu, no, you can’t, that’s impossible.”
For more on the American Academy of Pediatrics 2017-2018 recommendations regarding the flu vaccine, visit their website.
Visit Delaware Pediatrics’ website for more information on their team and services.