Time to Get the Flu Shot
Flu season is upon us and here is what you need to know. Influenza (“flu”) is a virus that spreads across the country each winter and spring, usually between October and May. The flu is caused by the influenza virus. It spreads in a number of ways though mainly through droplets resulting from talking, coughing, and sneezing. While less often, it can also be spread by touching a surface that has the flu virus on it and then touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Anyone can get the flu, but the risk of getting it is highest among children and the elderly. At Trusted, we take flu vaccinations seriously and ensure all of our child care providers are vaccinated.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an average of 20,000 children under the age of 5 are hospitalized because of influenza related complications. These complications include dehydration, pneumonia, and sinus or ear infections. The flu can also cause diarrhea and seizures in children. And in rare cases, complications have resulted in death.
Children under age 5, and especially those younger than 2 years old, are a high risk age group for developing flu-related complications. Infants under 6 months old are the most vulnerable because they are unable to receive the vaccine. As Trusted’s child care providers are giving direct care to your children, being vaccinated is a simple measure we insist our providers take to protect the health and well-being of your children and prevent spreading the flu.
All parents, family members, teachers, and child care providers (babysitters, nannies, day care workers, mother’s helpers) are strongly encouraged to get the flu vaccine. By getting vaccinated, you are less likely to get the flu and also less likely to spread the flu to others. A vaccination is the best protection against the flu and associated complications.
Our Trusted child care providers take everyday preventative measures to keep germs from spreading. All of our providers are
- vaccinated against the flu each season,
- wash their hands before providing direct care to children, and
- are equipped with alcohol based hand sanitizers on the go — in addition to being being up to date on overall immunizations (TDAP, MMR, Varicella).
We encourage anyone also in direct contact with children to help prevent the spread of the flu by getting the vaccination, as well as:
- Washing your hands with soap and water frequently and/or using an alcohol based sanitizer, especially after coughing and sneezing.
- Covering your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. If a tissue is not available, cough or sneeze into your elbow and never directly into your hands.
- Avoiding contact with people who have flu symptoms such as fever, chills, sore throat, cough, runny nose, muscle aches, headache, and fatigue.
- Cleaning and disinfecting commonly used surfaces frequently, especially when someone has symptoms of illness.
The vaccine takes approximately two weeks for antibodies to develop in the body and provide protection against the flu, such that I encourage you to get your flu shot as soon as possible as your best defense. Protection typically lasts through a flu season. Keep in mind that you should consult with your medical provider if you have a life-threatening allergy to the flu vaccine or an allergy to eggs, gelatin, or antibiotics.