New Research Shows that Flu Vaccines Cut ICU Admission Risks
A new study published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases has shown some promising research about the effectiveness of flu vaccinations for children. The research produced in the study is groundbreaking in that it is the first to analyze the relationship between vaccine efficacy and admissions to pediatric intensive care units. The medical records of 216 children between the ages of 6 months and 17 years old were analyzed for the study. All of these children had been admitted to pediatric intensive care units during the flu seasons of 2010-2011 and 2011-2012. The researchers found that children who were vaccinated against the flu reduced their risk of ending up in intensive care due to flu complications by 74 percent. Thus, being vaccinated protects children against serious flu complications.
Children under the age of 5 are at high risk for contracting the flu and developing life-threatening complications. This new study shows that vaccination of children and the adults around them is the best way to keep them from falling seriously ill during the flu season.
How Can I Protect Myself and My Children from the Flu?
The old saying “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is readily applicable to the flu. Vaccination is the best method of protection if you are concerned about the health of yourself and the children in your life during flu season and year round.
The CDC recommends that anyone over the age of 6 months old get an annual flu vaccination, but there are special flu recommendations for children. Children under the age of 2 should not receive the nasal spray version of the vaccine, and any child under the age of 18 should typically not be given the intradermal flu shot. There is a specific vaccination schedule for children between the ages of 6 months and 8 years old under which the child receives 2 doses of the vaccine for optimal immunity. The first dose is given as soon as possible, with the second dose being administered 28 days later. Full protection against influenza begins about two weeks after the child receives the second dose.
If you or your child are immuno-compromised or have pre-existing medical conditions, a flu shot is even more crucial to staying healthy. The flu can be deadly for adults and children in high-risk groups, so your health specialist will take every possible step to properly vaccinate you and anyone in your family. By ensuring you get your flu vaccination, you will be protecting yourself and your loved ones from illness, possible hospitalization, complications detrimental to long term health, and possibly even increasing your life expectancy.
The Flu Vaccine: a Great Choice for Public Health
Getting an influenza vaccination is also an important step to promoting better public health. If you get vaccinated, you are adding to the collective herd immunity in your area. This helps protect others in your community who cannot receive a flu vaccine. For example, babies under the age of 6 months old are unable to be vaccinated against the flu. They need the adults and older children in their life to be sufficiently vaccinated in order to protect their well-being.
The news that childhood flu vaccination greatly cuts the risk of ICU admission is heartening. Parents and guardians of children across the country should start thinking about making an appointment with a health specialist so that they and their children can get vaccinated before the next flu season begins in the fall.
CDC Media Release on the Vaccination Study
Link to the Study in the Journal of Infectious Diseases
CDC Informational Page on Flu Vaccines for Children
CDC Page on Who Should Get the Flu Vaccine