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Home >  Information A-ZAll Kids Information Articles Flu Shots and Young Kids

Flu Shots and Young Kids

There has been much debate as to whether young kids should receive vaccination to prevent them catching influenza, otherwise more commonly known as the flu. Whether or not it is best for your child to receive the vaccination is only a decision that can be made by the child's parent and doctor. But, the more educated you are about the vaccination the better able you will be to make the best decision. Below is a list of information that must be considered before you make a final decision about your child receiving a flu shot:

• Thimerosal—this is one of the biggest factors that makes many parents not want to vaccinate their child with the flu vaccine. It is one of the only vaccines that still uses this as a preservative, and it is basically mercury. Since mercury is very harmful to a person's health, many parents feel that vaccinating their children with this is worse than taking a risk of them getting the flu.

• Any other medical conditions—this is something that must play a key part in a parent's decision of whether to vaccinate or not. If your child is a normal, healthy child, their immune system may be able to fight off the flu well enough that the vaccine isn't necessary. If, however, your child has another illness, such as an immune disorder, diabetes, lung or heart problems, etc. you should consider getting the shot for your child. Since influenza leading to pneumonia is the cause of about 36,000 deaths each year in the United States, it is something that should be taken seriously if your child has any other medical issues.

• Egg allergies—the flu shot is made partially with egg protein, so it is very important that you know whether your child has any form of allergy to eggs. If so, many doctors will not want to give them the shot, since the risk of a reaction is greater than the risk of them getting the flu.

• Babies—since babies under six months aren't vaccinated, some experts recommend that older children in the household get vaccinations to help prevent catching it and passing it on to the baby. This is because, the same reason babies of this age don't get the flu shot, influenza and pneumonia can have very fatal effects in babies and extremely young children.

• Timing—if you do decide to get your child vaccinated for the flu, you need to get the timing right in order for it to have the greatest effect. You will need to have them vaccinated in the fall or early winter so that it will take effect before flu season really gets in full swing (usually in January). You should also know that, if it is your child's first vaccination for the flu, they will have to receive two shots a month apart to obtain full immunity, so you will need to allow enough time for both of these shots before flu season.

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