Flu Vaccination: 8 Things Dads Should Know

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School And Germs Are Now In Session

Summer is over, and yes it seems to get shorter every year. The unofficial hallmark of summer being over is undoubtably school zone traffic being back and the morning commute getting just a bit tougher. Fall is around the corner and you know what that means, the leaves on trees go from green to shades of orange and red, the air feels crisper, and the lines at Starbucks get longer, and Apple has just released their latest iPhone. The promise of cooler weather lingering just weeks away also brings an unwelcome guest, the Flu Virus.

People can contract the Flu virus at anytime during the year, however the CDC reports that from October through March the virus is at its peak, creating the “Flu Season”. As a parent of two, I don’t leave my children’s health to chance. When the Flu vaccine awareness campaign begins I know it’s just a number of days until I get my shot.

Safe or Sorry

In recent years their have been a small number of people who scrutinize vaccines and consider vaccines more dangerous than good. Simply do an online search for “Flu Vaccines Dangerous” and you will find conspiracy theorist and shock value claims that Flu vaccines kill healthy people. Every year the CDC reports that approximately 1 person per 1 million people receiving the vaccine may become ill. You will need to do your research if you are on the fence and unsure, however don’t just trust what you read, speak with your doctor or pediatrician before making your decision and research official sources like the CDC website.

As for me, because Flu vaccines are available, and I believe that I can reduce the probability that my two little hell raisers will contract the flu, or at a minimum recover from the Flu quickly, I prefer to error on the side of caution and opt for the vaccine.

Here are eight things you should know if you are unfamiliar with the Flu vaccine:

1)The Flu vaccine takes approximately two weeks to take effect.

This means that the Flu vaccine has not had enough time in the body to create the antibodies that fight the flu. So if you contract the Flu virus a week after receiving the vaccine you can expect to get sick.

2)The Flu Vaccine might cause mild fever and soreness at the sight of the shot

Not everyone will experience side effects. Some side effects can range from mild fever and body aches. The only side effect I experienced was minor shoulder pain around the sight of the shot and lasted 1 or 2 days.

3)The Flu vaccine does not protect against all strains of the flu.

There are different strains of the Flu virus. The Flu vaccine changes each year to target the anticipated strain that will be spread that Flu season. It is possible to get a Flu vaccine that protects you against Flu Type A and you end up catching Flu Type C.

4)The Flu Vaccine does not have to be administered in a doctors office.

Because getting the Flu vaccine is highly recommended during the Flu season and millions of vaccines are administered you can get the vaccine in places other than your doctor’s office. You can get the Flu vaccine at all major pharmacies while supplies last and even some employers will provide an onsite health care professional to administer the vaccine.

5)The Flu Vaccine can save lives

The CDC reports that approximately 36,000 people die each year from the Flu or Flu related complications and more than 200,000 people are hospitalized from the Flu in the United States. Over 140 million doses are administered in the United States each year.

6)Babies cannot get the Flu vaccine until they are at least six months old.

Pediatricians can safely administer the Flu vaccine to babies who are at least 6 months old. The vaccine is administered in two doses when babies are over six months old. Because they are given a much milder vaccine they must receive two dosages at least 1 month apart. Speak to your pediatrician for specific details.

7)Pregnant women who get vaccinated will pass on antibodies to the baby.

When mommy gets a flu vaccine and her antibodies are created they are passed directly to the baby through the placenta. I’ve read a websites that make this process sound as if the actual shot is passed through the placenta to provide protection. I was there to witness my wife receiving the vaccine and that is not what happens. Pregnant women receive the shot on the arm like everyone else.

8)Flu vaccines are not mandated by all schools and childcare providers.

The CDC does recommend that all childcare providers receive the Flu vaccine but they stop short of mandating. If you are concern, ask your childcare provider if they require all staff to receive the Flu vaccine. To find out what specific laws and policies are in place in your area visit your local or state government Health website.

You Decide

I am in no way shape or form telling you to roll up your sleeve and march into a pharmacy or doctors office to get a Flu shot. I do encourage you to visit a healthcare professional, visit your doctor or pediatrician and talk about the benefits and risks associated with the Flu vaccine. If you are the type of person who likes to make their decisions from behind a keyboard I strongly suggest reading the information on the CDC website. They have plenty of content for your consumption on the topic at Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Influenza Site.

As a concerned father who puts his children’s wellbeing above all else, I will be taking my kids to the pediatrician to get the Flu vaccine, my wife and I will also be getting the vaccine.

Lastly remember that the Flu season is not all bad news, it’s also football season. Go Cowboys!

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