Flu season has arrived and the question on every parent’s mind is: Should my child and I get flu shots? While parents can become skeptical at the idea of injecting themselves or their children with a lesser version of the virus to prevent against the flu, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that the vaccine lessens the chance of getting the flu and spreading it.
There are two types of flu vaccines available: the “flu shot” and nasal-spray flu vaccine. Both provide against three influenza viruses that are depicted as the season’s mainstream viruses. The vaccines cause antibodies to develop and prepare the body to fight against stronger versions of the flu viruses. CDC reports the regular flu shot is approved for children ages 6 months and older, and the nasal-spray flu vaccine is approved for children ages 2 and up.
While regular signs of the flu are fevers, coughing, sore throat, a runny nose, fatigue, and body aches, children with influenza may experience increased complications in addition to these common symptoms and need to be hospitalized. Also, according to the CDC children with asthma and diabetes are at higher risk for severe symptoms.
Although some parents argue that it’s better for the body’s natural immune system to fight off the disease and that taking simple preventative measures such as covering your mouth and washing your hands can help stop from contracting the virus, these kinds of efforts aren’t as easy for children, who also tend to have weaker immune systems.
So where can you get your seasonal shot? Parents can find local drugstores around the city that take walk-in appointments for flu shots:
NYC Health Clinics: NYC’s government page provides information to find a clinic near you for vaccinations, information on preventing and treating the flu, and how parents can prepare their children for prevention in school.
CVS: Accepts insurance as payment. Otherwise, most shots are $31.99. Walk-ins welcome. CVS offers online games for children that teach them about why getting a shot is important and how to prevent catching the flu. There are online schedules for parents to look up the best times to vaccinate their children.
Duane Reade: Accepts insurance as payment. Walk-ins welcome. They also offer a free assessment to learn about other vaccines that might be right for you.
Rite Aid: The pharmacy is offering flu shots for $25. They are accepting all walk-ins, and giving away a $100 coupon book with every flu shot.