It’s about that time of year folks. In a policy statement published on Monday 3rd of September, the American Academy of Paediatrics recommend calling for all children to be vaccinated before the end of October, emphasizing that the needle injection is advised rather than the nasal spray. A lot of paediatricians will be giving the choice of either the standard flu shot and FluMist nasal spray for their patients. The flu shot contains dead influenza virus strains, while the nasal spray contains weakened viruses.
Dr. Jennifer Shu who’s a paediatrician from Atlanta and a member of the American Academy of Paediatrics, but was not involved in the new recommendations says: “Everyone over 6 months of age should get their flu vaccine before Halloween, don’t go trick-or-treating unless you’ve had your flu shot.” The American Academy of Paediatrics first choice for children 6 months and older is the standard flu shot, as it has provided the most reliable defence against all strains of the virus in recent years. The academy says FluMist option is still available for the 2018-19 season, but has not been recommended for the prior two flu seasons because it was weaker against some strains of influenza.
However, the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP) saying that either the flu shot or FluMist is acceptable and parents who are unsure about which is best for their children should consult their doctors. According to the CDC thousands of children were hospitalized of flu-related illness, and eighty percent of the 179 children who died of flu-related illness in the last year flu season did not receive any flu vaccinations. The 2017-18 flu season ranked among the most severe on record, excluding pandemics.
The committee of specialists who approved the American Academy of paediatrics statement says getting a child vaccinated decreases the child’s risk of developing severe symptoms and conditions such as pneumonia and death. Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Dr. Anthony Fauci said that: “Australia had a terrible season last year, and in fact, we had a very bad season last year,”. Even though flu seasons are unpredictable, we can get a hint of what we’re going to face from what people in Australia and the southern hemispheres have faced in their winter. Also stating that looking at Australia today, the flu season there is “generally lighter than usual.”
“That doesn’t mean we are going to definitely parallel Australia. But there’s more of a chance than not that we will see something similar to Australia.” Still, he warned, “their season is not completely over yet.”. They continued: “One of the most important things about flu that we all have learned through experience is that it is generally unpredictable, that’s the nature of the flu.” Dr. Fauci advises most everyone get vaccinated against the virus “Particularly the people who fall into the high-risk categories: the elderly, young children, pregnant women, those who have chronic illnesses.” The CDCP website lists out the individuals falls into the high-risk categories. It is important to keep updated in the coming seasons.