The CDC recommends the pertussis (whooping cough) and flu vaccines during every pregnancy.
The pertussis vaccine is particularly important during pregnancy. Pertussis can be life-threatening to your newborn.
The pertussis vaccine (most commonly given in the Tdap vaccine–includes tetanus, diphtheria, and acellular pertussis) should given between 27-32 weeks gestation. The earlier the better. It will take at least two weeks for your body to make antibodies and pass them to your unborn child. Getting the vaccine around 27 weeks allows enough time for antibodies to form just in case you go into labor early.
These antibodies will normally protect the newborn until he is able to get his DTaP vaccine at 2 months (in the US).
Make sure you get this vaccine during EVERY pregnancy. The vaccine is mainly given to protect the child. You must get it every pregnancy to protect each child from pertussis. And it is safe for you to do so.
Next up…the flu shot. It is safe and recommended by the CDC to get the flu shot during pregnancy. Continue reading →
Kiddos with the highest risk of complications from the influenza virus are those aged 0-5, and the CDC is recommending all children age 6 months and older get the flu shot this year and every year.
Children between the ages of 6 months and 8 years who are getting their FIRST flu shot will most likely need to have two doses a month apart.
The first dose is needed to “prime” the immune system and the second dose provides protection from the flu. (Children who do not get the second dose have much less or no protection from the flu.)
The first dose needs to be given as soon as the vaccine becomes available so that the second dose can be given in time to have protection at the peak of the season.
After that, the child will only need one dose per year for coverage.
Children under six months are unable to receive the vaccine, but there are still ways to offer them protection. First and foremost, urge everyone around your children under 6 months to get the vaccine to keep the flu from getting close. (Herd immunity, folks!) Also, follow those common-sense hand washing and germ-reducing rules you learned in elementary school!
And please, please, please…stay home when you’re sick. I can’t say that enough.
It’s flu season again. And you have a decision to make. Should you get the flu vaccine this year?
Before you get started educating yourself on the influenza vaccine (and I applaud you for doing so), you may want to read the previous two articles in this flu education series:
So many people are confused about what influenza really is because the word “flu” is often misused and confused for various other sicknesses going on in the body. To familiarize yourself with the true flu symptoms and to understand why you should get vaccinated, please read: What is influenza, “the flu?”
Understanding a little more about how the influenza virus is constructed and how it mutates is also important in grasping why we all need to get the flu shot every year. I think you’ll be interested in reading more about the virus that causes the flu and learning: Why do we keep getting the flu over and over again?
Now that you’ve become flu savvy and have decided you are ready to make the choice to look into getting the vaccine, it’s important to know all you can before deciding which vaccine may be best for you and your loved ones. Continue reading →
Viruses are very tiny particles full of proteins and genetic material. And they have a job to do: infect our bodies/cells and make lots and lots of copies of themselves. The influenza virus in particular targets our lungs, nose, and throat. Then, it invades our cells, sets up shop, and goes to town making millions of copies of itself.
Soon millions of viral clones are attacking the body, leaving you feeling achy, tired, and just plain sick. But, after a while our bodies figure out they are under attack and the immune system runs to the rescue. Antibodies are created and the virus is banished, leaving the immune system with the memory to be able to attack it should it ever enter the body again.
But, the influenza virus is different from a lot of viruses in that it mutates and changes over the years, making it unrecognizable to our immune systems. Therefore, the virus can infect your body many times and leave you feeling sick over and over and over again.
So what’s going on here that’s different from other viruses?