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List: Posted: 12/10/10
There has been a lot of conflicting information released about the seasonal flu shot. Last year, the flu shot was in short supply and reserved for high-risk groups. Parents often question whether the flu shot is safe, and if their children really need to receive a flu shot each year.
A small percentage of the population (including children) still die from the flu each year. According to the CDC, "During the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, more than 340 deaths in children were reported to CDC from April 26, 2009 to May 22, 2010."
If your child has a chronic health condition such as asthma, diabetes, an immune disorder, or a neurological or neuromuscular disorder, they should certainly receive the flu shot immunization. The same is true if your child lives with someone with a severe medical condition, because children can bring the flu home and spread it to family members.
It is important to note that the flu shot is extremely safe. Even in children with compromised immune systems, potential side effects are typically mild, such as a small skin rash around the injection site that lasts 24-48 hours, and this is reaction is rare. Given that the flu shot is so safe, it is a worthwhile precaution for all healthy children against lost days from school and higher medical costs once children contract the flu; not to mention missed school days and missed work days for parents.
While your child might not fall into the high-risk category, a flu shot can still be a great choice. Kids are notorious for spreading germs and illness to one another, and the flu is highly communicable. A flu shot for children aged 6 months to 18 years old, as well as adults, is a good precaution against contracting the flu, and it may be covered under your insurance. Many quick clinics offer the flu shot. Check your local pharmacy or drug store for more information.
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