Did you know that August is National Immunization Awareness Month? Neither did I! It is and whether you believe in getting your children vaccinated or not, there are some things you may need to be aware of. While there are some childhood illnesses that are seldom found in the western world these days, because of vaccinations, there are others that are still very rampant in the world and they do not discriminate by race, color, religion or socioeconomic standing. These illnesses will attack where they can and either you are protected, or you are not. The choice is yours.
Do you get the flu shot? It’s that time of year again, back-to-school otherwise known as Cootiepalooza. Why Cootiepalooza you ask? Well, let’s just say that there is more than just death and taxes that we can count on happening in this life; we can count on back-to-school bringing with it lice, pink eye and the flu. If you have kids preschool through elementary school aged you are acutely aware of what I am talking about. My girls are in first and third grade and since they’ve been in preschool there are two things that I can count on every August; they will be going back to school and we will be getting sick.
Before I had kids, I never got a flu shot. I thought, why would I? The chances of me getting the flu were slim to none though I should have known better since I worked with children. In fact, I had never had the real deal flu until after I had children. While I was pregnant, my Obstetrician strongly suggested that I get the flu shot; “strongly suggested” in the way that a mother strongly suggests that you clean your room if you ever want to see the light of day again. I did it after she explained to me that the flu is more likely to cause severe illness in a pregnant woman than one who is not, that it is safe and that it would protect my baby for the first 6 months of life and, more importantly, babies under the age of 6 months are too young to get the flu vaccine but are also among the most vulnerable to its ill effects. It would have been irresponsible for me to not get the flu vaccination. That was the first time I ever got the flu shot.
Every year after that, my daughters have gotten the flu vaccination with the exception of last year, it completely slipped our minds because we were moving and wellness visits were in May instead of August or September as they normally are. Guess what happened? We all caught the flu. The real deal flu right smack dab in the middle of Nutcracker season. If you have daughters who are ballet dancers, you know what bad timing this was. Aside from the fact that we were bed ridden for 7 days, congested, feverish with cold chills and achy from hair to toenails, we were miserable on every level and our lives came to a screeching halt at the worst possible time of the year. I have never seen my daughters so sick and I never want to again. It was scary. Thankfully, they don’t suffer from any long-term health conditions like asthma or it could have been much worse. They are healthy children and it still knocked them on their butts.
We will all be getting our regularly scheduled flu shots this year, as soon as they are available. Make no mistake the flu is dangerous. Each year about 20,000 children younger than 5 years old are hospitalized from flu complications like pneumonia. You can die from the flu. There is no coming back from death. I can’t justify not taking the chance of stopping something that is so potentially dangerous from happening to my children, especially after seeing firsthand how it wiped them out last winter.
Will you be getting yourself and your children the flu shot this year?
Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post to raise awareness about National Immunization Awareness month but all opinions are my own.