#AskDok: Does my child really need to have a flu vaccine?

·8 min read

It is very important that you vaccinate your children and as well as yourself because this adds an extra layer of protection from diseases.

What you can find in this article:

  • What really is the flu?

  • How vaccines help us in general

  • What can we do to not get the flu?

It may not be fool-proof but vaccines lessen the severity of your disease and make the signs and symptoms milder. The flu vaccine in the Philippines is more important than ever because of the pandemic that is going on right now.

Viruses that can be vaccinated
Viruses that can be vaccinated

Picture from Freepik.

What really is the flu?

The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and sometimes the lungs. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. The best way to prevent flu is by getting a flu vaccine each year.

Dr. Cecilia Alinea, a pedia ambulatory said in the FamHealthy webinar organized by the theAsianparent Philippines on Facebook,

“Your influenza virus is a respiratory virus. They may share things such as sipon and cough but what differentiates influenza from the common cold is that people experience sakit ng katawan, sumsakit din joints nila, mabilis mapagado, sumsakit ang ulo.

May iba pang nararamdaman ang may trankasaso and can also have diarrhea and vomiting. So its not just your simple cold, you also have systematic signs and symptoms.”

A flu can also have severe complications Dr. Alinea said, “What people don’t understand is that it can give you complications especially if you have chronic diseases.”\

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Flu Symptoms

Influenza (flu) can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. Flu is different from a cold. Flu usually comes on suddenly. People who have flu often feel some or all of these symptoms:

  • fever* or feeling feverish/chills

  • cough

  • sore throat

  • runny or stuffy nose

  • muscle or body aches

  • headaches

  • fatigue (tiredness)

  • some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.

Why vaccination is important?

Vaccine needle
Vaccine needle

Picture from Unsplash.

It is always better to prevent a disease than to treat it after it occurs.

Diseases that used to be common in this country and around the world, including polio, measles, diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough), rubella (German measles), mumps, tetanus, rotavirus and Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) can now be prevented by vaccination.

Thanks to a vaccine, one of the most terrible diseases in history – smallpox – no longer exists outside the laboratory. Over the years vaccines have prevented countless cases of disease and saved millions of lives.

Dr. Alinea also stated that having a vaccine itself will make you away from an influenza or other diseases. She said that it is very important that you have a good lifestyle.

“It’s very important that we do sleep hygiene, it is important that we get enough sleep. They did a study and they found out that our killer cells are part the part of our immune system when we are asleep, they protect us from viruses.

Including Sars-Covid2. So that it why it is important that we vaccinate ourselves and that includes our children.”

Immunity protects us from disease

flu vaccine in the philippines
flu vaccine in the philippines

Flu vaccine in the Philippines. | Image from iStock

Immunity is the body’s way of preventing disease. Children are born with an immune system composed of cells, glands, organs, and fluids located throughout the body.

The immune system recognizes germs that enter the body as “foreign invaders” (called antigens) and produces proteins called antibodies to fight them.

The first time a child is infected with a specific antigen (say measles virus), the immune system produces antibodies designed to fight it.

This takes time, usually, the immune system can’t work fast enough to prevent the antigen from causing disease, so the child still gets sick. However, the immune system “remembers” that antigen.

If it ever enters the body again, even after many years, the immune system can produce antibodies fast enough to keep it from causing disease a second time. This protection is called immunity.

It would be nice if there were a way to give children immunity to a disease without their having to get sick first.

In fact, there are vaccines that contain the same antigens (or parts of antigens) that cause diseases. For example, the measles vaccine contains the measles virus.

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But the antigens in vaccines are either killed or weakened to the point that they don’t cause disease. However, they are strong enough to make the immune system produce antibodies that lead to immunity. In other words, a vaccine is a safer substitute for a child’s first exposure to a disease.

The child gets protection without having to get sick. Through vaccination, children can develop immunity without suffering from the actual diseases that vaccines prevent.

Flu vaccine in the Philippines

Flu vaccine in the Philippines. | Image from iStock

Many hospitals and clinics offer flu vaccines in our country, the price range is between P1,500-P2,000 and it recommended to have a vaccine shot every year to avoid having flu.

Experts say that having a flu vaccine is between February to June is highly recommend. Because flu coincides with our rainy seasons or Flu season.

For children, a single dose is given for those who have not been previously vaccinated, and then a second dose should be given after an interval of at least 4 weeks. After that re-vaccinate every year with an age-appropriate dose.

Why it is important to get your baby vaccinated?

Flu vaccine in the Philippines. | Image from iStock

Newborn babies are immune to many diseases because they have antibodies they got from their mothers. However, this immunity goes away during the first year of life.

If an unvaccinated child is exposed to a disease germ, the child’s body may not be strong enough to fight the disease. Before vaccines, many children died from diseases that vaccines now prevent.

Such as whooping cough, measles, and polio. Those same germs exist today, but because babies are protected by vaccines, we don’t see these diseases nearly as often.

Immunizing individual children also helps to protect the health of our community, especially those people who cannot be immunized (children who are too young to be vaccinated, or those who can’t receive certain vaccines for medical reasons), and the small proportion of people who don’t respond to a particular vaccine.

Vaccine-preventable diseases have a costly impact, resulting in doctor’s visits, hospitalizations, and premature deaths. Sick children can also cause parents to lose time from work.

Influenza worsens 5 things

flu vaccine in the philippines
flu vaccine in the philippines

Image from iStock

According to Dr. Cecilia Alinea, a pedia ambulatory) influenza can worsens 5 things, here are they:

  • Uncontrolled blood sugar

  • Neurological complications

  • Inflammation/coagulation

  • Dehydration, electrolyte imbalance

  • Susceptibility to infection

These and among other things are the effects on flu when gone untreated.

Vaccination is the most important thing we can do to protect ourselves and our children against ill health. They prevent up to 3 million deaths worldwide every year.

Since vaccines were introduced in the UK, diseases like smallpox, polio, and tetanus that used to kill or disable millions of people are either gone or seen very rarely. Other diseases like measles and diphtheria have been reduced by up to 99.9% since their vaccines were introduced.

However, if people stop having vaccines, it’s possible for infectious diseases to quickly spread again.

What can we do to not get the Flu?

The tips and resources below will help you and you can teach your children about the actions you and them can take to protect themselves and others from flu and help stop the spread of germs.

  • Avoid close contact.

Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.

  • Stay home when you are sick.

If possible, stay home from work, school, and errands when you are sick. This will help prevent spreading your illness to others.

  • Cover your mouth and nose.

Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick. Flu and other serious respiratory illnesses, like respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), whooping cough, and COVID-19, are spread by cough, sneezing, or unclean hands.

  • Clean your hands.

flu vaccine in the philippines
flu vaccine in the philippines

Flu vaccine in the Philippines. | Image from iStock

Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
Handwashing: Clean Hands Save Lives

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.

Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth.

  • Practice other good health habits.

Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home, work or school, especially when someone is ill. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.

According to Dr. Cecilia Alinea, influenza (Flu) is a vaccine-preventable disease. Do your family a favor by vaccinating yourself and your children and saving yourselves from the complications and problems that are brought about by the flu. That is why the flu vaccine in the Philippines is very important to our society now.

Sources:

NHS, NFID, CDC

The post #AskDok: Does my child really need to have a flu vaccine? appeared first on theAsianparent Philippines: Your Guide to Pregnancy, Baby & Raising Kids.

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