As we approach flu season, Lakeside School's medical advisory board, a committee of the Board of Trustees, encourages families to help students stay healthy by vaccinating them against influenza.
As researchers race to develop a vaccine for COVID-19 for children under 12, there is already a safe, effective way to protect children from another common and unpredictable infection — influenza — which can cause severe illness and death. This fall, pediatricians recommend that it is more important than ever for everyone over 6 months old to be vaccinated.
The American Academy of Pediatrics in its policy statement, “Recommendations for Prevention and Control of Influenza in Children, 2021–2022,” offers the option of a flu shot or nasal spray flu vaccine this season. Any licensed, age-appropriate vaccine is acceptable, according to the recommendations, which are similar to those of the last flu season. Public health officials warn that hospital beds and emergency services are currently extended beyond capacity in communities where coronavirus transmission remains high.
When children become infected with influenza, other family members are likely to get sick, leading to missed school days, missed work, doctor visits, and sometimes hospitalizations. Although children with certain conditions are at high risk for flu complications, most who get influenza are healthy children.
The medical advisory board wants to share the message that the single best way to protect against influenza is to get vaccinated each year. Yearly flu vaccination is needed because immunity against influenza wears off over time. In addition, influenza virus strains often change, so the vaccine also changes from year to year in order to match influenza viruses expected to circulate in the community. The influenza shot can lower your chances of getting influenza and also reduce the severity of the illness.
American Academy of Pediatrics
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
National Foundation for Infectious Diseases/Childhood Influenza Immunization Coalition
Families Fighting Flu