A gameplan against this year’s flu

Did your team win this weekend?

I hope so. It is so exciting when your team gets to throw up a “W” after their first contest. It gives all the fans hope for a successful and exciting season.

Fall also is a time to cheer for our annual opportunity to protect our families against a predictably unpredictable opponent: influenza.

That’s right. It’s time to defend against the flu by getting an annual flu vaccine.

This season, your defensive coordinator (aka, your pediatrician) has a few “players” to choose from for your family’s best success.

Let’s meet the 2013-14 defensive line

Veteran starter: The injectable influenza vaccine. This tried and true injectable vaccine is ready to defend against 3 or 4 strains of the nasty virus.

New to the roster: FluMist quadrivalent nasal vaccine. A needle-phobic fan favorite, this year’s player is defending against 4 strains of flu. It is sure to be a crowd pleaser, for those 2 years or older, with its easy administration and great annual protection.

Currently being scouted: Egg-free vaccine and intradermal vaccine. Although both of these vaccines are eagerly anticipated to join the starting defensive line-up, they are currently only available for those 18 years and older. We hope to get them on the playing field for our littlest ones soon.

Gameplan highlights:

  • I support and encourage the AAP recommendation that all children aged 6-months or older be vaccinated against the flu.
  • Your game plan may include 1 or 2 vaccines. Check with your defensive coordinator for details.
  • Special plays need to be made to ensure high risk groups are protected. These groups include pre-term babies, children with chronic medical illnesses (diabetes, asthma, heart problems), and those of American Indian/Alaskan Native heritage.
  • Don’t let egg allergies stop the play. Children with mild egg allergy can get vaccinated. Talk with your allergist or pediatrician for what they recommend.
  • All pregnant or breast-feeding women and all health care providers should also be vaccinated.

The most complete defensive strategy is to combine vaccination with healthy habits. Begin talking with your children now about great hand-washing, covering coughs (Jimmy Fallon does it), great sleep, and healthy nutrition.

The great news is that all of us can be part of a winning team this fall when we choose to protect our family against influenza. Join today.

Overtime:

For parents, grandparents, babysitters, nannies, daycare providers, and everyone else to takes great care of children, the best place to get your influenza vaccine is at your medical home. However, if you need an alternative place to find the flu vaccine, consider getting vaccinated at your local Walgreens. This year, Walgreens has partnered with @shotatlife for a Get a Shot, Give a Shot campaign. You can get vaccinated yourself, and give another person the same opportunity for protection. Pass it forward.

Natasha Burgert is a pediatrician who blogs at KC Kids Doc.

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  • Chiked

    Isn’t the flu vaccine like fifty something percent effective. Even lower in the elderly. Waste of time in my opinion. Want to guard against the flu, eat well, bundle up and get lots of sleep.

    • Jane Galt

      In 65 and olders, it was like 25% effective. Or to put it more bluntly, 75% ineffective.

    • Jane Galt

      “Want to guard against the flu, eat well, bundle up and get lots of sleep.”

      And stay out of doctors’ offices!

  • Jane Galt

    Is there any evidence that this year’s flu vaccine is going to be any more effective in over-50′s than last year’s was? Because last year’s was, like, almost completely useless.