In India’s second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, many children were affected by the virus. It has been a major cause for concern, and we are sure that, like most parents, you too may be wondering whether it’s a good idea to give your child a flu shot.
The answer is a resounding yes. As the third wave of COVID-19 threatens to hit India in the coming months, doctors highly recommend it. More so if your child is prone to colds and seasonal flu.
Do You Need to Worry About Your Child Getting the Flu?
While the flu does not severely affect adults, it can be fatal for infants and children with medical conditions like heart, kidney, or lung disease, asthma, diabetes, cancer, sickle cell anaemia, HIV, etc. Flu or common cold can also weaken a child’s immune system and cause respiratory problems.
Flu symptoms include congestion, sore throat, cough, chills, high fever, nausea, and vomiting. That’s right; these symptoms are very similar to that of COVID-19. Parents are bound to get them tested for COVID-19 at hospitals, and if the symptoms are severe, even admit their child to the hospital.
However, if the third wave hits India as predicted, hospitals will be filled with COVID-19 patients, making it difficult to get your child admitted. So, it is advisable to vaccinate your child against the flu and prevent such a situation from arising.
Does a Flu Shot Also Protect Your Child Against COVID-19 Infection?
As per studies conducted on children who’ve tested positive for COVID-19, it was observed that the flu shot reduced the risk of infection and respiratory illnesses significantly. In fact, it built their immunity against the coronavirus through ‘viral interference’—a phenomenon where a cell that is infected by the flu virus becomes more resistant to the coronavirus.
When should Your Child Get the Flu Shot?
Flu season usually begins in November and goes on till May. Children who are 6 months or older should get the flu shot before October, every year.
Is It Necessary to Give Your Child a Flu Shot Every Year?
Absolutely! You see, the strains of viruses keep mutating from time to time, and the vaccine formulations are upgraded to include the new strains.
If your child is younger than 9 years, they may need to get 2 shots every year, usually a month apart.
Where Can You Get Your Child Vaccinated?
The influenza shot is readily available in the market. Your child can get the flu shot at your trusted doctor’s dispensary, the nearest hospital, or even at home if administered by a healthcare professional.
Does the Flu Shot Have Any Side Effects?
Your child may experience slight fever, aches, and swelling or soreness where the shot was given. In rare instances, some children have experienced weakness, hives, dizziness, vomiting, faster heartbeat, and breathing difficulty. So, observe your child after the shot and get medical help if you notice any of these side effects. These side effects are nothing compared to the effects of the actual flu. So, don’t worry about it and give your child the flu shot every year. After all, prevention is better than cure.