As a parent you know how helpless you can feel when your child is sick. The flu can hit children hard and leave them feeling miserable with symptoms like fever, chills, cough, runny or stuffy nose, sore throat, muscle aches, headache, fatigue and sometimes even vomiting and diarrhea.
So, why not do everything you can to try to protect your children from getting the flu this season, starting with getting them vaccinated!
“The flu vaccine is the best way to protect yourself and your children from getting the flu,” said Jiancheng Huang, Public Health Director of Oswego County. “The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone six months of age and older get a flu vaccine every year.”
Flu vaccines have an excellent safety record.
Millions of Americans have safely received flu vaccine for decades.
There are two kinds of flu vaccines available for kids: the flu shot for children six months of age and older, and the nasal spray flu vaccine, which can be used in healthy children two years of age and older. Some children between the ages of six months and eight years may require two doses of vaccine.
Your healthcare provider can tell you whether your child needs two doses of vaccine to be fully protected.
Flu can take a heavy toll on children.
Each year about 20,000 children younger than five years old are hospitalized from flu complications. Complications, like pneumonia, can lead to death.
For children with chronic health conditions like asthma, neurologic disorders, and diabetes, getting a flu vaccine is even more important, because they are at increased risk of developing flu complications.
Last year, roughly half the flu-related pediatric deaths occurred in children with underlying medical conditions.
“Flu vaccine is the best tool we have to protect against flu,” said Judy Lester, supervising public health nurse for the Preventive Services unit of the Oswego County Health Department. “We have plenty of vaccine available for children, and of course parents need to be vaccinated too.”
The Oswego County Health Department offers vaccines for children every Tuesday from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. at the office located on 70 Bunner St. in Oswego. Vaccines are also available the third Tuesday of the month from 9 to 11 a.m. at the Health Department office located at the Barclay Courthouse in Pulaski.
Walk-in influenza clinics for adults are held weekdays from 9 to 11 a.m. and 1 to 3 p.m. at the Nick Sterio Public Health Clinic, 70 Bunner St., Oswego.
For more information, contact the Oswego County Health Department weekdays at 349-3547.