Introduction to influenza
Influenza, commonly known as the "flu", is a contagious disease that can affect anyone. It attacks the respiratory tract in humans (nose, throat, and lungs), causing inflammation of the mucous membranes.
It can be spread when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or speaks. The flu viruses are transmitted into the air through droplets and other people breathe in the viruses.
When these viruses enter the nose, throat, or lungs of a person, they begin to multiply, causing symptoms of the flu. The viruses can also be spread indirectly when a person touches a surface with flu viruses on it (for example, a doorknob) and then touches his or her nose or mouth. Transmission can also occur when an infected person shares food with others during mealtime without a serving spoon.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there are 4 types of seasonal influenza viruses, types A, B, C and D, influenza A and B viruses circulate and cause seasonal epidemics of disease. Influenza A viruses are further classified into subtypes according to the combinations of the hemagglutinin (HA) and the neuraminidase (NA), the proteins on the surface of the virus. Currently circulating in humans are subtype A(H1N1) and A(H3N2) influenza viruses. Only influenza type A viruses are known to have caused pandemics.
Why is flu vaccine necessary for your child?
First, children commonly need medical treatment because of influenza, especially before they turn 5 years old.
According to WHO, children under 59 months old are at a higher risk for serious influenza complications. The flu vaccine offers the best defense against getting the flu and spreading it to others.
The health authorities around the world such as Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States recommends that everyone - 6 months of age and older, to receive a flu vaccine annually.
How can flu vaccine help your child?
The injected flu vaccine will cause your body’s immune system to develop antibodies about two weeks after the vaccination. These antibodies provide protection against infection with the viruses that are in the vaccine.
When you are exposed to the flu virus, your body will produce antibodies to fight it.
It should be noted that It may take 10 to 14 days for your immunity to build up fully after you have had the flu shot.
How many doses of flu vaccines that your child need?
For children between 6 months to 8 years old, who are getting vaccinated for the first time, may need two doses of the influenza vaccine. The second dose should be given at least 28 days after the first dose.
The effectiveness of the flu vaccine
The effectiveness of flu vaccine varies from year to year. This means your child may still get flu even though he has been given the flu vaccine. It should be noted that the vaccine may reduce the severity of symptoms if you catch the flu virus in spite of being vaccinated.
According to CDC, recent studies show that flu vaccination reduces the risk of flu illness by between 40% and 60% among the overall population during seasons when most circulating flu viruses are well-matched to the flu vaccine. A good match means
Side effect of flu vaccine
There are side effects associated with the flu vaccine. Common side effects of the flu shot include:
1.Soreness, redness, warmth at the injection site
The flu shot can occasionally cause fainting.
Generally, the sides effects of the flu vaccine are mild and usually go away within a few days without any medication.
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