flu shots

Flu shots for children are coming more into vogue now and I think they are a great idea. We have been giving influenza shots for years to children who have medical conditions such as asthma, cystic fibrosis, or heart malformations which would put them at risk for complications of influenza: pneumonia, sinusitis, ear infections and so forth. There is now good evidence in the adult medical literature that adults who receive a yearly flu shot have a 30% reduction in respiratory infections of all types that winter. This is significant, especially in light of how cheap and safe the flu shot is. I get one yearly for this reason.

Now many pediatric infectious disease specialists are recommending the flu shot for all children over 6 months, especially those in group daycare. Several studies have shown about a 35 percent reduction in ear infections for children in daycare who get a flu shot. I think this is a great idea and plan to actively promote it next fall. There is really no time when you are "too late" to get a flu shot - it is just that the benefit for influenza protection decreases as the season wears on. The nonspecific benefits should be available whenever you receive the immunization. Of course, this is still an area of debate in infectious disease circles, so talk it over with your doctor.

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