Doctors' Orders: Flu Vaccine

Flu ShotFlu season is right around the corner. Doctors urge parents to protect children against the flu by getting them vaccinated every year as soon as possible. Both nasal flu vaccine and injectable flu vaccines are available this year.

Here are things to know about the 2019-2020 flu season:

  • Don’t wait to get vaccinated. All vaccines this year will protect against 4-strands of influenza. It’s important that the vaccine is given to as many children as possible, before the flu starts circulating in your community. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends all children 6 months and older should get their flu vaccine as soon as it’s available and ideally by the end of October. It takes two weeks for the vaccine to be effective. Vaccinated adults protect babies and others who can’t be vaccinated.
  • Flu Mist is back. The AAP states that both nasal spray and the flu shot are effective at protecting children against the flu this year.
  • You can’t get the flu from the flu vaccine. Symptoms such as nausea, lethargy, headache, muscle aches and chills can occur. If you are vaccinated, but still get the flu, your symptoms will be milder, and the duration of illness will be shorter than if you had not been vaccinated.
  • Flu is dangerous for children. Last flu season the CDC reported 136 children died of complications from the flu. It is important to know even healthy children can die from flu.

Why is it important to get the flu vaccine each year?

  • Flu viruses are constantly changing, and different viruses can circulate and cause illness each season. Flu vaccines are made each year to protect against the flu viruses that research indicates will be most common and will provide protection against any strain.
  • The vaccine will provide protection for the entire season.

--Reviewed by Dr. Ryan Redman, Chief of Staff, Emergency Department Medical Director

Doctors' Orders is an ongoing series featuring articles from the experts at East Tennessee Children's Hospital.