Local health experts urge kids to get flu shot

SPOKANE, Wash. — Health experts say now is the best time to get your flu shot and some kids received theirs Saturday in a MultiCare flu clinic.

Kids as young as six months old can get a flu shot, said Ashley Randleman, a pediatric nurse practitioner with MultiCare. Health care professionals say it’s best to get vaccinated against the flu, especially this year, as the pandemic continues.

Hospitals are already burdened with COVID patients and they’re afraid of a ‘twin-demic’ of both viruses.

Like many other vaccines the flu shot is not 100 percent effective, but Randleman says it will reduce severe symptoms.

She added that it’s more important this year for kids to get vaccinated against the flu, since last year, many were still learning from home.

“We definitely might see a higher rate of infection, especially in kids this year because they are back in school,” Randleman said. “They’re congregating with each other and sharing those germs. Way more than they were last year when they were at home and not in school. The earlier these kids can come in and get their vaccines, the better, the more protection they’ll have ”

The best time to get your flu shot is by Halloween, Randleman said.

The vaccine could provide protection for up to six months. Peak flu season is between December and February, but it could start sooner and last longer.

At MultiCare, the Rockwood Clinic offers both the vaccine and a nasal mist. Randleman says both are effective, however, she says the nasal mist is a live vaccine.

“There’s a little more risk of mild symptoms after, maybe a mild fever, sore throat, runny nose, that you usually wouldn’t get with the shots,” she said.

Randleman says some parents are hesitant about kids getting the flu shot, but assures that there have been many studies with the flu vaccine saying it is safe and effective.

Even though some may not have had the flu before, she says it’s still important to get vaccinated.

“They can get it at any point in time during the flu season. Just because they’ve never had it doesn’t mean they’re never going to get it in the future. Just having these vaccines available for them, they prevent very serious illness,” Randleman said.

If you or your kids still need to get a flu shot, talk with your doctor or pediatrician.

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