Flu Season: Why You Should Vaccinate Your Kids
You’ve likely suffered from the flu at least once in your life. It isn’t fun, is it? Maybe you’re a new parent and you’re worried about your child getting the flu. If that’s the case, you’ve come to the right place. Many parents have doubts about the flu shot, but we’ve come up with 10 great reasons why you should vaccinate your kids. Before we get into those reasons, though, let’s have a look at what the flu really is and what kind of impact it can have on your child.
What is the flu?
The flu is an illness caused by the influenza virus. There are two variants of influenza: A and B. There are two large types of glycoproteins on the outside of each influenza particle: hemagglutinin (which helps the virus bind to the target) and neuraminidase (which helps the release of the virus from infected cells). There are 16 H subtypes and nine N subtypes. They are what is responsible for the H and N distinction. For example, H1N1 is composed of the H1 and N1 subtypes. As you can imagine, there are many different possible combinations, thus many different strains of the flu virus. This is important when it comes to developing a flu vaccine, as you’ll find out more about below.
The flu attacks the respiratory system (your nose, throat, and lungs), causing a runny nose, sore throat, cough, high temperature, headache, and gastro-intestinal symptoms.
The flu is especially dangerous for children, seniors, and those with weakened immune systems. In these groups of individuals, severe complications, such as pneumonia and dehydration, may occur due to the flu.
How is the flu spread?
The flu is very contagious, which is why it’s so important to protect yourself and your family. It can be spread through contact with respiratory droplets. It can be spread by direct contact with an infected individual or by touching something with the viral particles on it (such as a phone or doorknob). Flu season in America lasts from October to May.
What is the flu vaccine?
Vaccines have been around since the 1790s. The world’s first vaccine, introduced by Edward Jenner, was for smallpox. Thankfully, smallpox has been eradicated because of the vaccination. In 1945, the vaccine for influenza was developed and has since saved many lives. Today, there are both trivalent and quadrivalent vaccines, which are made to protect against three or four flu viruses, respectively.