William Walker, MD
Contra Costa Health Services
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Read more about Flu and ways to prevent it.
When is the last time you have
seen a child excited about a vaccine?
Last year at our flu clinics,
children were walking away with
smiling faces after having received the
nasal flu spray, which is for many people a
welcome alternative to getting a shot.
There's a good deal of discussion about
the need to immunize children against
infectious diseases, such as chicken pox and measles,
but flu is actually the most common vaccine-preventable
illness affecting children today.
That is why the flu vaccine is now
recommended for children ages 6 months to
The nasal flu spray is widely available and is an option
for healthy people ages 2 to 49 and who are not pregnant.
I'm Dr. William Walker, Director of
Contra Costa Health Services,
here to talk to you about the
importance of flu vaccine.
Children and adults can spread the
flu even before they get a
runny nose or sore throat.
That's because the flu starts being contagious
one day before symptoms even appear.
And the flu can be passed for
five days after a person gets sick.
School-aged children are in
close contact with each other and
can easily pass the flu.
Besides missing school, children may
pass the flu to those most likely to
develop serious complications or
be hospitalized, like a baby brother or
sister, grandparents, or a friend or
family member with asthma.
To further protect those most vulnerable,
we encourage health care workers and
anyone who lives with or cares for
someone elderly to get
vaccinated against the flu.
The same is true for anyone who
lives with or cares for children under 5.
Pregnant women also are encouraged to
get the flu shot to protect themselves and
Of course, anyone who wants to
stay healthy and avoid the flu can
get the flu vaccine.
However, people who are allergic to eggs
should not get vaccinated because the
vaccine contains egg products.
Small children from 6 months to age 2 and
older adults can protect themselves with the flu shot.
There are still people who are reluctant.
They worry that they'll get sick from the vaccine.
I have patients who say they know someone who got
the flu from the vaccine.
Since the flu shot is not made from a live virus,
that is not possible.
Any potential side effects from the shot—
a low grade fever, soreness in the arm and
aches—are much less severe than the
illness from the influenza viruses we are now seeing.
There is a slightly higher risk with the
nasal vaccine but it's still very low.
For information about flu vaccinations and
where to get them, visit our website at
Thanks for listening.