Flu Season is Fast Approaching

We’re already headed into flu season and the influenza virus is highly contagious–at GetzWell we’re gearing up to help protect our families and community.

During flu outbreaks, the highest infection rates occur among school-age children. Children are important disseminators of disease in the community.  For every 100 children in U.S. elementary schools, influenza accounted for an estimated 20 days of work missed by their parents and 22 secondary illness episodes among other family members.  While the fatality rates are very low, infection rates in healthy children have averaged between 10% and 40% each year, with approximately 1% of infections resulting in hospitalization.  Hospitalization risk is substantially higher for children younger than 2 years of age compared to those older than 2 years.

The following is a list of vaccines available at GetzWell:

– 6-36 months of age: half size single dose preservative-free vaccine (Fluzone)

– 2 yrs and older: nasal spray flu mist vaccine (preservative-free)

– 3 yrs and older: full size single dose flu vaccine (preservative-free)

Some reasons you may want to vaccinate:

  • Infants in the first 2 years of life are at a higher risk than older kids and adults of becoming infected with the influenza virus and suffer more severe disease and more frequent hospitalization.
  • Healthy people living with either infants or the elderly may get vaccinated to decrease the likelihood of transmitting the virus to these high risk groups.
  • Research has shown that preventing the flu decreases the chance of ear infections.
  • The preservative-free Fluzone is available immediately on a first-come first-served basis.
  • If you are traveling with the entire family over Christmas, ski week, or spring break you may want to be vaccinated to protect you and the kids from infection during these high risk weeks and having to cancel the trip.
  • If you don’t know whether to reserve mist or shot, consider that mist is more effective in kids 2-6 years old as compared to the flu shot.  The shot is more effective at causing immunity in kids 6 and older and adults.

Flumist is safe for breast feeding mothers.

Some reasons not to vaccinate:

  • Allergy to eggs.
  • Low-risk (e.g. breastfed baby with stay-at-home mom without older siblings in group child care settings or school).
  • Parents are able to stay home with sick infant/child who becomes ill with the flu, which allows for close monitoring and perhaps preventing the severe effects of the disease.

In an effort to protect the little ones, we will offer flu vaccine to parents and other family household contacts such as grandparents and nannies/babysitters.

Remember to wash hands frequently with soap and water, use alcohol based hand sanitizers if you don’t have access to a sink, to cough or sneeze into an elbow or tissue, and stay home from work, school or daycare if you are sick.