Flu shot, have you?

There was a video  on a 2 year old girl in Taiwan that caught flu and she’s now in a critical condition, the mother posted a video and it went viral!

It never cross my mind that flu vaccine is essential, but better be safe than be sorry. I’m booking Little S in for an appointment to get this done next week. It’s very sad to see this happen within my circle of friend/ acquaintance , thought i should share some basic information on Influenza Vaccine to help create awareness among parents.

Every country has different mandatory vaccinations, in UK for instance, they offered nasal spray flu vaccine (needle-free) as part of their NHS childhood vaccination programme. It’s offered routinely to all children aged two, three and four. However in Malaysia, influenza vaccine is an optional vaccine and it’s not part of the vaccination schedule by the Ministry of Health Malaysia.

 

What is the influenza or flu?
The flu (short for influenza) is an illness of the nose, throat, and lungs caused by influenza viruses. It spreads easily and can cause serious problems, especially for very young children, older people and people with certain long-term medical conditions like asthma and diabetes. The flu vaccine can protect against this disease.

Signs and symptoms of flu
People who have the flu often feel some or all of these signs and symptoms:

Fever* or feeling feverish/chills
Cough
Sore throat
Runny or stuffy nose
Muscle or body aches
Headaches
Fatigue (very tired)
Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.
*It’s important to note that not everyone with flu will have a fever

Some children with the flu will vomit or have diarrhea. Symptoms start about 2 days after contact with the virus. Some people get better in a few days, others can be sick for weeks. People can spread the flu from one day before symptoms begin to 5-7 days after. This can be longer in children and people who are very sick.

What is the influenza vaccine?
The influenza vaccine is an injection given to help prevent influenza. Influenza, or the flu, is caused by a virus. The virus spreads from person to person through coughing and sneezing. There are different types of viruses that cause the flu. The viruses change over time, so new vaccines are made each year. The vaccine begins to protect you about 2 weeks after you get it.

Flu Vaccine Injection: The flu shot is usually injected into your upper arm. It may also be given in your thigh. You cannot get the flu from the vaccine because the viruses used to make the vaccine are not alive.
When should I get the influenza vaccine? The influenza vaccine is offered every year starting in October or November. Get the influenza vaccine as soon as it is available. Some children 6 months through 8 years of age may need two doses of the vaccine to be fully protected. The 2 vaccines should be given 4 or more weeks apart. It is best if the same type of vaccine is given both times. Ask your child’s doctor how many doses they need. The flu vaccine can be given at the same time as other childhood vaccines.

Who SHOULD get the flu shot?

  • Infants older than 6 months
  • Any healthy adult who would like to decrease their risk of getting the flu
  • Anyone living with or caring for children younger than 5 years
  • Healthcare workers
  • Anyone who lives in a long-term care facility
  • Anyone who has chronic health problems, such as asthma, diabetes, or blood disorders
  • Anyone who has a weak immune system
  • Women who are or will be pregnant during the flu season
  • Who SHOULD NOT get the flu shot?
  • Infants younger than 6 months. Babies younger than 6 months are too young to get either vaccine but they can be protected if their mother is vaccinated during pregnancy, and if everyone around them gets the flu vaccine.
  • Anyone who has had an allergic reaction to the flu shot in the past
  • Anyone who has an allergy to chicken or egg products
  • Anyone who is sick or has a fever
  • Anyone who was diagnosed with Guillain-Barré syndrome within 6 weeks of getting a flu vaccine in the past
  • Anyone who is allergic to thimerosal (mercury)

What are the risks of the influenza vaccine? The area where the vaccine was given may be red, tender, or swollen. The flu shot may cause mild symptoms, such as a fever, headache, and muscle aches. The nasal spray may cause a fever, runny or stuffy nose, headache, muscle aches, or vomiting. You may still get the flu after receiving the influenza vaccine. You may have an allergic reaction to the vaccine. This can be life-threatening.

Source – Prince Court Medical Centre

 

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