Much is said about the immunity of children and babies and how it is easier for them to get sick precisely because their immune system is more fragile because it is developing.
Mothers and fathers are also very concerned about this fragility and many end up taking several measures to prevent the contraction of these diseases and also to increase the immunity of children. And one of the most effective measures is the flu vaccine in children.
But this is still an object of discussion, since this vaccine is not mandatory, even though it is recommended by doctors. But after all, is it worth giving the flu vaccine to children?
Understand the Flu
Flu is a disease caused by the influenza virus (H1N3) and is highly contagious. It is one of the most common diseases not only in humans, but in mammals in general. Its main symptoms are:
- Muscle aches
The disease was a real torment for humanity in the not-too-distant past, when deaths from it were common. Nowadays there are many methods for treatment and the flu is considered a not very dangerous disease , although it must be treated well so that it does not end up becoming pneumonia, for example.
We can divide the flu virus into 3 subtypes. The influenza A virus is a highly mutable type of virus and, therefore, it can reach the same person several times, there are also influenza B and C viruses, which are less common and have their specificities. All three types affect humans.
Difference Between Flu and Cold
It is very common that there is confusion between the flu and the cold , since they are two diseases that have similar symptoms. The main difference from the flu is the presence of fever and the intense pain in the body that people usually experience.
The cold usually comes with headaches and nasal congestion, but it does not make a person completely unwell as the flu virus does. In any case, if you have doubts about which disease is affecting your child or you, it is important to visit a doctor so that there is no doubt.
The viruses that cause cold are diverse, we can say that there are more than 200 types and among them the most well-known and common are the rhinovirus, parainfluenza and the syncytial virus. There is no vaccine for them, but because it is a milder disease than the flu, the recovery of the infected person is considerably faster.
Who Should Get the Flu Vaccine?
We are very used to seeing campaigns for the elderly to get the flu vaccine, but the flu vaccine in children aged 6 months to 5 years should also be given. It is important to note that although it is not a mandatory vaccine, the flu vaccine can bring several benefits and has an excellent effectiveness in children.
In addition, in Brazil there are campaigns every year that vaccinate children of these ages free of charge. In other words, the reasons for a mother not to give this vaccine are few, although it is up to the parents to make this decision.
Reasons to Get the Vaccine
We can list some of the main advantages of the flu vaccine in children:
- It reduces from 32% to 45% the number of hospital admissions due to pneumonia.
- Reduces between 39% to 75% the number of cases of mortality due to the influenza virus.
- The flu is highly contagious and the vaccine makes the disease more difficult to spread.
- Children have a weaker immune system, so getting a vaccine means more protection.
Influenza Vaccine Reactions in Children
There is a strong myth that the vaccine ends up causing flu in children, and there are also beliefs that a pregnant woman can lose her baby if she gets the vaccine or even that there are carcinogens in her.
For this, it is worth remembering that it is made with the dead virus, which means that there is no danger of this happening. As for the side effects that the flu vaccine in children can bring, all are very well controlled and there are no major dangers. We can name some of the side effects:
- Redness at the vaccine site
- Slight pain in the arm
- Low fever
With these data, we can see that the safety of the vaccine is proven. In addition, it is worth mentioning that these reactions to the vaccine happen because of some of the elements that compose it and are not the consequences of the dead virus. If you still have doubts, talk to your doctor so that no myths prevent you from protecting your family’s health.
Whether or not to vaccinate your child against the flu will always be your decision. Many parents end up being afraid or prefer not to vaccinate their children for several reasons. Although it is not a mandatory vaccine, there are several benefits that this vaccine can bring and therefore the recommendation is for parents to give.
On the other hand, not having the vaccine will not necessarily harm the child, but the chances that the disease will appear more strongly are greater. Even so, as we said earlier, this is a decision that is up to the parents and depends on some factors that must be evaluated by them.
My name is Dr. Alexis Hart I am 38 years old, I am the mother of 3 beautiful children! Different ages, different phases 16 years, 12 years and 7 years. In love with motherhood since always, I found it difficult to make my dreams come true, and also some more after I was already a mother.
Since I imagined myself as a mother, in my thoughts everything seemed to be much easier and simpler than it really was, I expected to get pregnant as soon as I wished, but it wasn’t that simple. The first pregnancy was smooth, but my daughter’s birth was very troubled. Joana was born in 2002 with a weight of 2930kg and 45cm, from a very peaceful cesarean delivery but she had already been born with congenital pneumonia due to a broken bag not treated with antibiotics even before delivery.