It’s November, and that means flu season is in full swing again. Most families cringe when they hear this, fearful of stories they’ve picked up from the news or dreading the task of getting their child vaccinated. The team at Green Hills Pediatric Associates understands your concerns, and we want to help you address them.
How Do I Know if It’s the Flu?
It’s easy to confuse cold symptoms with flu symptoms, but there are a few hallmarks that tell you someone in your family has the flu. For example, fevers aren’t common with colds, but someone with the flu can have a fever of 100–102 or even higher. Flu victims are also more likely to experience body aches, chills, or coughing. Finally, colds often appear gradually, while flu symptoms come on suddenly and often with little warning. The common cold lasts about a week to ten days, while the flu’s initial symptoms last two to five days, with lingering effects for a week or more.
Do We Need Flu Vaccines?
The short answer: yes. Everyone needs a flu vaccine annually because the prevalent strains of flu change every year. Ask your doctor any questions you have. At Green Hills Pediatric Associates, we can tell you the differences between a trivalent and quadrivalent vaccine and how your family will benefit.
Remember that certain groups are always at higher risk for the flu. Young children, particularly ages two and under, are at high risk because their immune systems are still developing. The elderly are also at high risk, as are any adults who work with large numbers of people daily. Among these are medical professionals, schoolteachers, emergency service providers, and adults whose jobs require house calls (cable, plumbing, heating, and so forth). If you consistently visit the gym, restaurants, or spas, get a flu vaccine.
How Can I Help My Child Prepare?
Most kids fear needles, and it’s understandable. If your child is healthy, he or she may qualify for the nasal spray version of the vaccine, which is painless but may leave an unpleasant taste in the mouth. If your child needs a traditional vaccine, prepare him or her gently but honestly. Say, “It will hurt, but only for a minute. It’s may be a good idea to plan a special treat afterward.
For additional information about the flu and flu vaccines, called us at (615) 385-1451.