After the excitement of the Halloween festivities, we’ve all come down with colds in the past week or so. And I say “colds” in the plural because there have been more than one, when we seem to have gotten over one, another arrives.
I still can’t get over the fact that my two elder kids, who both had the flu shot this summer, seem to get over it incredibly quickly or don’t get it at all. For example last week, Ollie simply had a runny nose for a day or two, and Nat was fine. This week Nat had a cough for a couple of days, and Ollie a runny nose for a day. Today, both kids are fine. What matters was that nothing really came of it, no prolonged symptoms or worse, fever. Poor baby Wills, who obviously couldn’t get the shot, has had it pretty bad. Coupled with heavy teething (his top two came out this week, and one more is breaking too), he’s had a tough time. And so has Mommy, with a bad cold last week and again this week for round two.
But back to the flu vaccine. The Moms at my son’s preschool are divided on this. And until last year, I agreed that it made sense to go “au naturel”, of the let-them-get-sick-it-builds-their-immunity kind of thinking. But last year was a particularly bad flu season for us, with my son missing A LOT of school days which did him no good at all. So when a Mom raved that her son got through the season virtually unscathed because of the vaccine, I thought I’d try it out this year. Now I’m a convert. Even my husband, who’s had a miserable week coughing and sneezing, has grumbled,”why didn’t you make me get the shot??!” Well, next year one thing is for sure, we’re ALL getting flu shots.
Here are some key facts about the vaccine:
The single best way to protect against the flu is to get vaccinated each year.
There are two types of vaccines:
* The “flu shot”— an inactivated vaccine (containing killed virus) that is given with a needle, usually in the arm. The flu shot is approved for use in people older than 6 months, including healthy people and people with chronic medical conditions.
* The nasal-spray flu vaccine — a vaccine made with live, weakened flu viruses that do not cause the flu (sometimes called LAIV for “live attenuated influenza vaccine” or FluMist®). LAIV (FluMist®) is approved for use in healthy* people 2-49 years of age who are not pregnant.
Each vaccine contains three influenza viruses-one A (H3N2) virus, one A (H1N1) virus, and one B virus. The viruses in the vaccine change each year based on international surveillance and scientists’ estimations about which types and strains of viruses will circulate in a given year.
About 2 weeks after vaccination, antibodies that provide protection against influenza virus infection develop in the body.
Photo via P. Swansen