Are Flu Shots Necessary for Your Baby?

Amy Jo Jones
Baby
12

Flu ShotSince my baby is in day care, he has had more than his fair share of sniffles, runny noses, and coughs that keep him (and me) up at night. One thing I've learned about day care: No matter how often they bleach the toys, once one child starts coughing, it's all over -- everybody is getting sick.

Last fall, the flu hit Rowan hard and wound up taking the rest of us down with its miserable symptoms of fever, chills, congestion, cough, and fatigue that made it hard to get out of bed. It was terrible trying to get through it and trying to nurse a sick baby at the same time.

This year we're all signed up for flu shots -- Rowan included. Is that really necessary? I say yes.

The flu is more dangerous than the common cold for children. In fact, the CDC reports that severe influenza complications are most common in children younger than 2 years old. Babies with chronic health problems like asthma and diabetes are at especially high risk of developing serious flu complications.

This year the CDC recommends that all children 6 months through 8 years of age are recommended to receive 2 doses of 2010-11 flu vaccine 4 or more weeks apart -- unless they have received at least 1 dose of 2009 H1N1 vaccine last flu season, and at least 1 dose of seasonal vaccine prior to the 2009-2010 flu season or 2 doses of 2009-10 seasonal flu vaccine last flu season. If a child has fulfilled both requirements, they only need 1 dose of the 2010-11 flu vaccine.

We are very fortunate that Ro is healthy and doesn't have any health issues that make me worry about severe complications from the flu, so that's not my biggest concern. But I do worry about him being exposed to the flu at day care. If I can do something to help keep him from getting sick, then as long as there are no long-term risks associated with getting the flu shot, I'm going to do it.

Do you worry about the flu? Will you get a flu shot for your baby?

  

Image via futureatlas.com/Flickr


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