Missing school, holiday activities, and family events due to illness is no way to spend the holidays and while you can never protect your family from all illness, you can protect them from the flu virus. By getting your family vaccinated early in the flu season, you can reduce the chance of illness running through your house during the holidays and protect your kids from bringing the virus home from school.

Getting vaccinated for the flu no longer requires a shot! We administer FluMist, a nasal version of the vaccine for children over two years of age. For children under nine years old and who have never had a flu shot before, we need to give two doses of the vaccine, the second dose given one month after the first to offer full protection from the flu virus. We will schedule a follow-up appointment when your child receives the first shot.

Every year, many parents don’t believe that a flu vaccination is necessary to protect their child from the flu. In fact, they couldn’t be more wrong. It is proven that the vaccine saves lives and protects from the virus.

Common misconceptions about the flu:

1. Cold weather causes the flu
The flu is a virus and cold weather can’t give you a virus. The flu tends to occur in colder months but being outside will not make you sick. Experts agree that people get the flu in colder months because they spend more time inside in closer contact with others.

2. If you get the flu once, you can’t get it again during that season
Every year, people get infected with Type A or Type B of the flu virus. If you have flu, you could get another strain in the same season. Every time you become sick with the flu, you risk spreading it to others.

3. Antibiotics can cure the flu
Antibiotics only fight bacterial infections. The flu is a virus and can’t be cured with antibiotics. If your child is given antibiotics when he or she has the flu, it may cause more harm than good. Every year, children visit the emergency room due to misuse of antibiotics. If antibiotics are given when they aren’t needed and a child develops a bacterial infection, the infection may become resistant to antibiotics. If you are given an antibiotic, take all of the recommended doses and don’t share antibiotics or use leftovers from last season’s illness.

4. The flu vaccine can give you the flu
It is impossible for the flu vaccine to give a person the flu. The flu vaccine contains a dead virus and the nasal spray, FluMist is engineered to remove parts of the virus that can make a patient sick. In blind studies where half of people received the flu vaccine and half received a placebo, the only difference was a sore arm and redness at the injection site among people who received the actual flu shot.

5. The stomach flu is a form of influenza
The stomach “flu” is not influenza and is not caused by the flu virus. The stomach flu may come from a variety of sources and is characterized by diarrhea and vomiting. People with the flu virus may experience these symptoms but they will also experience fever, cough, congestion, body aches and exhaustion.

There are a lot of myths surrounding the flu and vaccine. Click here to learn more about the common misconceptions and how you can protect your family.

To prevent illness, make sure that your family practices the proper hand-washing technique. Once your child gets vaccinated, he or she won’t be immune to illness so it is the important to educate your children about the importance of good hygiene.

Practice these good hand-washing techniques at home to prevent the spread of illness:

  1. Put your hands under warm or cold running water and use soap
  2. Rub your hands together until the soap lathers and don’t forget the back of your hands, in 3.between your fingers and underneath your nails
  3. Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds. Have the kids since Happy Birthday twice to make hand washing fun!
  4. If soap and water aren’t readily available, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. However, sanitizers don’t eliminate all germs.

Don’t risk getting the flu during the holiday season! Call us to book flu shots for the entire family.

About the Author

Dr. Katalenas

Dr. Katalenas is a pediatrician and owner of The Pediatric Center of Round Rock and the author of the book "The Step Up Diet: From Scratch… The Quality, Quantity, and Timing Solution to Childhood Obesity", a guide to healthy cooking and eating for busy families.