Pediatrician - Wall
3350 Highway 138 Building 2 Suite 126
Wall, NJ 07719

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Posts for: November, 2011

By contactus
November 18, 2011
Category: Uncategorized
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As flu season is upon us, the physicians at Stepping Stone Pediatrics strongly recommend that all of our patients receive their yearly flu vaccine.  Below are some common questions about the flu shot parents ask each year .

Q: What is flu?

A: Flu—short for influenza—is an illness of the nose, throat, and lungs caused by influenza viruses. It spreads easily and can cause serious problems, especially for very young children, older people and people with certain long-term medical conditions like asthma and diabetes. The flu vaccine can protect against this disease.

Q: How serious is flu?

A: Flu can be mild or very serious. Flu seasons also vary in severity from one year to another. Between 1976 and 2006, estimated annual deaths in the United States from flu ranged from about 3,000 to 49,000.

Complications from flu include:

• Pneumonia (lung infection)

• Dehydration (loss of body fluids)

• Worsening of long-term medical conditions, like asthma and diabetes

People who get serious complications from flu often need care in the hospital.  In the United States each year an average of 20,000 children younger than 5 years old need hospital care because of flu complications. Hospitalization rates are higher for children with long-term medical conditions, babies and children younger than 2 years.

Q: How does flu spread?

A: Flu spreads when infected people cough or sneeze. You may also get flu by touching an object with flu virus on it—like a doorknob or used tissue—and then touching your own eyes, nose, or mouth.

People who have the flu should stay home (except to seek medical care) until 24 hours after their fever is gone without the use of fever-reducing medicine.

Q: What is the flu vaccine?

A: The flu vaccine helps protect against flu. There are two kinds of flu vaccines: the shot, given with a needle usually in the arm, and the nose spray. Everyone 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine every year.

There are many different types of flu viruses, and the viruses are always changing. Each year, scientists try to match the viruses in the vaccine to those that are most likely to make people sick in the coming year.

Because flu viruses are always changing, last season’s flu vaccine may not protect against newer viruses, and annual vaccination is the only way to maintain protection each season. The flu vaccine provides protection that lasts throughout the flu season.

Q: Which flu vaccine should my child get?

A: Healthy children ages 2 and older can get the nose spray vaccine. Children 6 months to 2 years, those who have experienced wheezing in the past year, and children with long-term medical conditions (which includes asthma) should get the shot instead. Neither vaccine can cause flu because the viruses are killed or weakened.

Babies younger than 6 months are too young to get either vaccine but they can be protected from maternal vaccination (if the mother is vaccinated) during pregnancy, and by being sure that everyone around them has received the flu vaccine.

Q: Why should my child get the flu vaccine?

A: Even healthy children can get flu and spread it to others.

Getting your child the flu vaccine is the most important thing you can do to protect them from flu and its possible complications. It can also help protect others, including babies younger than 6 months who are too young to get the vaccine.

Q: Does my child need a vaccine every year?

A: Flu season most often peaks in February, but flu viruses can continue to spread and cause illness until April or May. There are many different flu viruses, and they change constantly. For each season, a new flu vaccine is produced that is designed to protect against the three main flu viruses that are expected to cause the most illness during the upcoming season—the decision about which viruses to include is based on the best information available and the opinion of experts. The vaccine can protect against illness from the viruses in the vaccine, or it can make illness milder if people are exposed to a different but related flu virus. Another reason to get vaccinated every year is that the body’s immunity from the vaccine decreases after a year, so your body needs a new vaccine to renew immunity.

Q: Is the flu vaccine safe?

A: Many studies over many years have shown that flu vaccine is safe. Flu vaccines are also effective. A number of studies have shown that the flu vaccine works.  Vaccines, like any medicine, can have side effects Hundreds of millions of Americans have safely received seasonal flu vaccines and most people who get the flu vaccine have no side effects. Those that do occur are almost always mild and  may include soreness, redness, or swelling where the shot was given, fever (low grade), or aches. Side effects of the nasal spray flu vaccine can include stuffy or runny nose. If they occur, these side effects last only a few days. Serious side effects are very rare.

Q: If my child does not get the flu vaccine, will he get flu?

Without the flu vaccine, your child is at higher risk of getting flu. Children are the most likely age group to get flu. Among children younger than five years old, flu is a common cause for doctor visits and trips to urgent care centers.

Q: Where can I learn more about the flu vaccine?

A: To learn more about the flu vaccine or other vaccines, talk to us here at Stepping Stone Pediatrics. Or you can call 800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636) or go to and check out the following resources:

• Key Facts about Seasonal Flu: keyfacts.htm

• Common Questions Parents Ask about Infant Immunizations: infants/parent-questions.htm

• Vaccines website for parents: parents

Please contact us with any questions or concerns!

Choosing a pediatrician is an important and personal decision and we want you to feel at ease with the care you and your child will receive.

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3350 Highway 138 Building 2 Suite 126,
Wall, NJ 07719