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Flu Vaccinations


Yearly flu vaccinations should begin in September or as soon as flu vaccinations are available and continue throughout the influenza season, into December, January, and beyond.  Flu vaccines are an inactivated vaccine, meaning that it contains killed influenza virus. The killed influenza virus is injected into muscles and stimulates the immune system to produce an immune response (antibodies) to the influenza virus.

 

Fight the Flu and Keep Kids Healthy

(ARA) – Flu season is a time of year that many parents dread. It can be inconvenient and costly to take time off of work to care for a sick child and maintain a germ-free home during flu outbreaks in your community. But what many parents also don't realize is that the flu can be more than just a temporary nuisance; it is much more serious than the common cold, and can even cause death in some children. That is why getting a flu shot every flu season is so important, especially for children who attend child care.

Young children are much more likely than adults to get sick with the flu because of their less-developed immune systems. Over the past five flu seasons in fact, nearly 400 children in the United States have died from influenza and its complications. And more than 20,000 children under the age of 5 are hospitalized from the flu each year.

To help educate the public about the importance of annual flu vaccination for children, the National Association of Child Care Professionals (NACCP), together with Families Fighting Flu and the Childhood Influenza Immunization Coalition (CIIC) have launched a new flu awareness campaign, “Fighting Flu in Child Care Settings: Building Blocks to Increase Influenza Awareness.”

"Our campaign is especially important this year, as a new survey we conducted shows that many mothers who want to protect their loved ones from the flu are actually misinformed or unaware of the facts regarding flu vaccination in children," says Sherry Workman, executive director and chief executive officer of NACCP. "For example, the vast majority of the mothers surveyed, 81 percent, did not know that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that all children aged 6 months through 18 years get vaccinated against the flu every year."

In addition, while 63 percent of mothers surveyed said they are concerned their children will catch influenza in the child care setting, 43 percent of all moms surveyed have not taken their children to get the flu vaccine within the past two years Since children in child care facilities spend a lot of time interacting with other kids and adults, it’s especially important to teach child care providers and parents about preventive practices to help keep children healthy during flu season. About 41 percent of preschool children are cared for in organized child care settings at least part of the time, which means a considerable number of children are sharing toys and sharing germs.

"Vaccinating children against the flu is the single best way to protect them and their families from this potentially deadly virus," says Richard Kanowitz, president of Families Fighting Flu. Kanowitz's 4-year-old daughter, Amanda, died suddenly in March 2004 from influenza. "Unfortunately, many parents still don't know that the flu is likely to be prevented with a simple annual flu vaccination."

Influenza, or "the flu," is a highly contagious viral infection of the respiratory tract (nose, throat and lungs). The flu virus tends to spread from October to May in this country, with the highest number of cases occurring in February. A person infected with the flu virus will typically suffer from illness for approximately seven to 10 days, with five to six days of limited activity and about three days of bed rest.

As part of the nationwide campaign, child care providers in 1,300 child care centers across the country are being supplied with family-friendly tools such as posters, brochures and fact sheets to help educate parents about the importance of annual influenza vaccination in children.

“It’s so important for parents to know that the CDC recommends that all children six months through 18 years of age get vaccinated against the flu every year,” says Dr. Carol J. Baker, National Foundation for Infectious Diseases immediate past president, CIIC moderator. “The primary message that we hope to communicate through this campaign is that anyone who wants to reduce the risk of becoming ill with influenza, or of spreading it to others, should get an annual influenza vaccination.”

For more information, visit www.familiesfightingflu.org or www.naccp.org.

This program is made possible by an unrestricted educational grant to Families Fighting Flu from sanofi pasteur.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

 


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