Taking flu shot is important for kids as the flu and the COVID-19 virus cause common symptoms, including fever, cold and cough. Doctors recommend that Flu vaccination may reduce symptoms that might be confused with those caused by COVID-19 and preventing the kids from flu and reducing the severity of flu illness could also lessen the stress on the parents. To protect kids against infections is essential in the developing years as it may impact on their growth and development.
The best way to prevent flu among kids is with a flu vaccine, it is effective especially in the change of season and is absolutely a necessity since the monsoons are approaching. As per the recommendations of WHO, CDC, AAP and IAP, any child above 6 months of age is eligible for a flu shot and must be given 2 doses with a gap of one month if you are going for the first time. 4 weeks is recommended by the doctor to be maintained between the two vaccines so that the kid gets sufficient time for the antibodies to develop, and to build-up immunity against several kinds of viral infections.
Subsequently flu shot (single shot) can be given every year. Some parents worry about the side effects of the flu shot , which is very minimal. A child can experience mild symptom of fever or slight pain in the injection site, preferably the lateral side of the arm, which will subside in a day or two.
Flu vaccines are updated every season as per the variations seen in the virus (Antigen drift and Antigen shift). Flu shots are available for all age group above 6 years, be it pre-schoolers, school going kids, adolescents, adults, pregnant women, lactating mothers, geriatric age-group.
Flu vaccine does not protect from covid-19 infections. It can cut the risk of contracting flu infection and save kids from getting hospitalized. Any kid with any form of allergy can take flu shots.
Some common side effects of flu shots
Parents should know that the side effects of the flu shot are mild, and the side effects are the same in adults, children, and babies.
Fever after the flu shot.
Parents need to keep a check if the kid is having a fever of 101°F (38°C) or less as this is a common side effect of the flu shot and this gets over within a day or two.
Reaction at the flu injection site
The most common side effect of the flu shot is a reaction at the injection site. After the shot is given, the parents need to check if the kids have soreness, redness, warmth, and in some cases, little swelling at the injection site. The side effects usually go away in less than two days.
By Dr Prashanth Gowda, Consultant Neonatologist & Paediatrician, Motherhood Hospitals, Sarjapur, Bengaluru