When your child is ill nothing else matters. You just want them to feel better. Full immunity against the flu is impossible, but you can boost your child’s defence while they’re in the best of health and physical fitness.
Forewarned is forearmed with our guide to flu vaccinations.
Every year, the warnings about the next winter flu outbreak start surfacing in January. That’s because the winter flu season is well underway in the northern hemisphere.
While you can catch the flu at any time of the year, it’s most prevalent in the colder months.
In this guide, we tackle some tough questions about flu vaccines for children. We’ll answer:
- Is the flu vaccine available for 2019?
- When should my child get the flu shot for 2019?
- What are the most common flu symptoms in kids?
- Can my child go to daycare if they have flu vaccination side effects?
Most importantly, you should discuss your child’s flu vaccination with your general practitioner.
Is the flu vaccine for 2019 available?
Work for Australia’s next flu vaccination began in 2018. The Australian Influenza Vaccine Committee (AIVC) met in October 2018 to decide which strains of the flu to include in the 2019 flu vaccination. Another meeting is held in February by WHO.
Every year the flu changes. Every year multiple viruses cause the flu, so you can still get the flu even if you have a flu shot. The flu shot is designed to defend against the strains that cause the most problems.
Some clinics and pharmacies offer flu vaccinations from March and April. While we don’t know precisely when the Australian flu vaccination 2019 will be available, we learnt some insightful tips from flu vaccinations in 2018:
- Always discuss your child’s vaccination with your General Practitioner
- Vaccinations offered in March maybe the previous year’s vaccinations
- Getting last year’s vaccination doesn’t mean your child has the best cover
- You need to get vaccinated every year against new strains
- Some places charge a fee, others offer it for free based on government funding.
When should my child get the flu shot for 2019?
Generally, the flu shot is available between April and October in Australia. It’s important though to check with your doctor about your child’s vaccination. In March 2018, pharmacies in Australia were accused of selling old stock for a cheap price. The same thing happened in 2017.
When the flu vaccination for 2018 was released, demand was high. A severe 2017 flu season triggered the uptake. In May, the media reported the 2018 flu vaccinations were running low. But this was misleading as there were places with plenty of stock.
As the vaccine’s effectiveness wanes after three to four months, if you get the flu shot too early, there is also a higher risk of getting the flu later in the year. That’s because Australia’s flu season peaks anywhere from May to September.
However, the AMA President, Tony Bartone says the best time to get the flu shot is from mid-April onwards. This is the best time to start getting flu vaccinations for the healthy, the elderly, and children over 6 months of age.
What are the most common flu symptoms in kids?
Even if your child gets a flu shot, it’s still possible they’ll get a strain of the flu. A sudden high fever is often one of the first signs. Keep a thermometer on hand to check your child’s temperature if they’re not feeling well.
While a fever over 38 degrees Celsius is the most common symptom, a child may have other symptoms. Educators at Petit ELJ always keep an eye out for the signs and symptoms of sick children, it’s an essential part of their care. Children might also complain of:
- Feeling achy or sore in the arms, legs or all over
- About their head hurting
- A really sore throat
- Feeling sick in the tummy
- Being tired.
As well as the above, you may also notice your child coughing or having noisy breathing, nausea or diarrhoea. Of course, it could be a cold or another type of infection. So, it’s always best to see your doctor for an official diagnosis.
Can my child go to daycare if they have flu vaccination side effects?
Flu shots are the best way to prevent influenza. If your child is between the age of 6 months and 5 years they may be eligible for a free flu vaccine. Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria all provided children with free flu vaccines in 2018.
The vaccine is safe and reduces the likelihood of your child getting influenza. Afterwards, your child may not feel well and may show mild vaccine side effects. These include:
- Low-grade fever
- Muscle and joint aches.
If your child shows signs or expresses a feeling of being unwell and this interrupts their ability to participate in everyday routines, it’s possible your child will be sent home until they are well. Always ask your daycare centre for information on health and safety relating to your child.
Let’s talk about your child’s health & safety
When you come for a tour, we’ll discuss your child’s wellbeing, safety and security at our centre. Our policies and procedures are in line with current legislation and childhood practices. If your child is sick, we ask that you keep your child at home.
It’s necessary that children who show signs of being unwell are separated and sent home to prevent the spread of infections or illness. However, vaccinating your child is the best way to prevent influenza, so we encourage you to discuss the flu shot with your doctor.