First Flu Fatality of the season: Get your flu shot

A child from Florida has become the first fatality from the flu during the 2018-2019 season, according to state health officials. According to epidemiologists, the child tested positive for influenza B and died during the week of Sept. 30. This unfortunate incident serves as a reminder to get a flu shot.

Despite the fact that 183 children and 80,000 Americans overall died from the flu last season, a recent national survey found that parents are still hesitant to get the flu vaccine because of a few popularly spread myths.

The survey found that more than half of parents think you can get the flu from the shot, 30 percent believe that vaccines are a conspiracy, and 28 percent of moms and dads think that the immunization can cause autism, which has been disproven numerous times.

“None of these things are true,” explained Dr. Narula. “It’s important that we deal with the science and the facts. Officials have said [getting the flu shot] is like wearing a seat belt,” said Dr. Narula. “This is really a no-brainer for parents.”

The CDC recommends everyone over 6 months old get the flu shot every season. If you still have questions, make sure to speak with your child’s pediatrician or your doctor as soon as possible.

According to the Arizona Department of Health Services, everyone should get vaccinated as soon as the flu vaccine becomes available each year. However, it is still beneficial for anyone who was not vaccinated in early fall to get vaccinated later in the fall or winter because most influenza activity typically occurs in January or later. Though it varies, flu season can last as late as May so it is never too late to get vaccinated.

Flu Vaccination is especially important for:

People at high risk for complications from the flu, including:

  • Children aged 6 months or older,
  • Pregnant women,
  • People 50 years of age and older,
  • People of any age with certain chronic medical conditions, and
  • People who live in nursing homes and other long term care facilities.

People who live with or care for those at high risk for complications from flu, including:

  • Health care workers
  • Household contacts of persons at high risk for complications from the flu (see above)
  • Household contacts and out of home caregivers of children less than 6 months of age (these children are too young to be vaccinated)

Anyone who wants to decrease his or her risk of getting or spreading influenza.

Who Should Not Be Vaccinated

Some people should not be vaccinated without first consulting a physician. They include:

  • People who have a severe allergy to chicken eggs. People with mild allergic reactions (hives) should still be vaccinated.
  • People who have had a severe reaction to an influenza vaccination in the past.
  • People who developed Guillain-Barré syndrome within 6 weeks of getting an influenza vaccine previously.
  • Children less than 6 months of age (influenza vaccine is not approved for use in this age group).
  • People who have a moderate or severe illness with a fever should wait to get vaccinated until their symptoms lessen.

If you have questions about whether you should get a flu vaccine, consult your healthcare provider.