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Your Healthy Family: Make sure you and your kids have gotten a flu shot

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It's not too late to have a flu shot keep your kids healthy this winter It's not too late to have a flu shot keep your kids healthy this winter

When it comes to the flu Dr. Robert Sayers a pediatrician with Kids Are Great Pediatrics here in Colorado Springs says it’s not too late to get a flu shot this year.  It’s important for parents and kids to not let the last couple of mild flu seasons lull you into a false sense of security.

“The flu in the last year or two, was not thought to be a big deal here in Colorado.  3 years ago the H1N1 was a major concern and a lot of parents were more into vaccinating their children.  Since then, the last two years have been milder, even though it wasn't that way across the rest of the country.  Since then the vaccination rates seem to have gone down especially in our clinic.”

It's not enough to make sure you are vaccinating your kids, it needs to be a family priority to protect especially the elderly and the young.  Dr. Sayers says the vaccine should be introduced before the age of 1.  “From 6 months of age on, the flu shot is recommended.  Anybody less than six months, if you have a newborn baby in your arms it's best to have everybody around the baby vaccinated.  It's called a protective cocoon so everybody is protected and won’t share with the baby.  If you have any history with asthma, that puts you at a higher risk when it comes to the flu.  Also as you get older like myself, you need to really be aware of it.”

Some years the flu shot is more effective than others, but even when the vaccine isn't as effective Dr. Sayers says it's still usually better to get a flu shot than to go without.

“The flu is still a dangerous disease and when you get it you’re going to get very sick.  The flu also brings the potential for a lot of consequences.  The vaccine changes every year as they make their best guess as to how to formulate it.  Some years are great, some years and not quite as great, but it's still worth the benefit to get vaccinated.  I really encourage people to consider vaccinating their kids and themselves.”

Dr. Sayers says the flu season runs into the new year, and in January RSV season rears it's ugly head.  Next month as part of Your Healthy Family we'll talk about the warning signs and when to seek treatment when it comes to RSV.

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