Each year, an estimated 20,000 children under the age of 5 are hospitalized because of influenza complications. Between 2004-2016, 1,350 children died because of the flu in the U.S. In most cases these deaths could have been prevented if the children received the flu vaccine.
NAPNAP is teaming up with Families Fighting Flu and HealthyWomen to raise awareness about influenza and provide you with customized educational resources.
#DYKtheFlu Fact #1: You cannot get the flu from the flu vaccine. In fact, the flu vaccine (administered via a needle) does not actually carry a live virus; it has either become “inactivated” or does not contain a flu virus at all.
#DYKtheFlu Fact #2: The flu is not just a bad cold -- it is a serious disease. Flu is a highly-contagious viral infection of the respiratory tract (nose, throat, and lungs), but can also affect many different organs in the body and cause serious complications or even death. In the United States, about 200,000 people are hospitalized each year because of the flu, which includes approximately 20,000 children under the age of five. And, the flu causes more deaths each year than any other vaccine-preventable disease. Sadly, children, even otherwise healthy children, can die from the flu.
#DYKtheFlu Fact #3: It is recommended that everyone 6 months of age and older receive an annual flu vaccination, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Annual flu vaccination is critical because flu strains can change from year to year, and the flu vaccine is updated annually to protect against the anticipated circulating strains. Even in a mild flu season, it’s important to get your flu vaccination. It’s also important to practice other healthy habits, such as washing hands often, covering coughs or sneezes with a tissue or your elbow (instead of your hand), avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth and staying away from sick people.
#DYKtheFlu Fact #4: The potential side effects of the flu vaccine are not worse than the flu itself. The flu vaccine cannot cause the flu. The most common side effects of flu vaccination may include soreness, redness, tenderness, or swelling where the shot was given, which can last 1 – 2 days. Lowgrade fever, headache and muscle aches also may occur, but these symptoms are much less severe than symptoms caused by actual flu illness.
#DYKtheFlu Fact #5: The flu vaccine is safe and represents our best weapon in the fight against flu. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the flu vaccine is safe and also the best preventative measure we have to protect ourselves, our families, and our communities against this serious and potentially deadly disease. In fact, the flu vaccine has been available in the U.S. for more than 50 years, and there is extensive research proving its safety. In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, along with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, regularly monitor the safety of vaccines that are used in the United States.
NAPNAP hosted a Twitter chat on Thursday, Dec. 8, 2016 to discuss the latest changes in the flu vaccine and why it is so important for children and teens to receive this vaccine annually. Missed the conversation? No worries — we archived it so you can view the full chat.