- by Dr Gowher Yusuf
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- May 26 2017
The flu vaccine is, indeed, a good idea for families. The flu shot does not cause the flu and it keeps kids and parents from getting sick. Getting the flu is worse than having a cold and can make a person sick for a week or more. Infants younger than 6 months can't get the vaccine, but if the parents and older kids in the household get it, that will help protect the baby. This is important because infants are more at risk for serious complications from the flu.
Who Should Be Immunized? In India, though flu vaccine is optional, it is better to receive the shots (for everyone 6 months of age and older). It’s particularly vital that those in higher-risk groups get vaccinated. They include:
- All kids 6 months through 4 years old
- Anyone 65 years and older
- Women who will be pregnant during flu season
- Anyone whose weakened immune system is weakened from medications or illnesses (like HIV infection)
- Residents of long-term care facilities, such as nursing homes
- Any adult or child with chronic medical conditions, such as asthma
- Kids or teens who take aspirin regularly and are at risk for developing Reye syndrome if they get the flu
- Health care personnel who have direct contact with patients
- Caregivers or household contacts of anyone in a high-risk group (like children younger than 6 months)
Certain circumstances would prevent a person from getting the vaccine. If your child falls into any of the groups below, talk to your health care provider to see if the vaccine is still recommended:
- Infants under 6 months old
- Anyone who's severely allergic to eggs and egg products. (People with a mild egg allergy can receive the vaccine, but it should be given in a doctor's office so that they can be monitored for side effects for 30 minutes after the shot is given.)
- Anyone who's ever had a severe reaction to a flu vaccination
- Anyone with Guillain-Barré syndrome (a rare condition that affects the immune system and nerves)
- If your child is sick and has a fever, talk to your doctor about rescheduling the flu shot
Stop the spread of Flu:
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol based rub.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
- Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
- If you are sick with flu-like illness, you should stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. (Your fever should be gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.)
- While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.
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