May 19, 2015

It's Not Too Late to Get a Flu Shot Children's Health shares a mom's account of taking her 3-year-old son in for a flu vaccine. This is followed by tips offered by expert Dr. Jeffrey Kahn, on ways to stay healthy during flu season.

Sarah Burns shares how she recently got her 3-year-old son, Mack, a flu vaccine and why it’s not too late to get one for your kids, too.

Over the holidays, I took off almost two weeks from work (and honestly, responsibilities in general). When I came back, I was greeted with a barrage of news stories about the rise of the flu and RSV. Hospitals all over the nation were full of sick kids, and Children’s was no different.

This shouldn’t have been surprising, considering my 5-month-old niece had come down with a horrible case of RSV a few weeks earlier, causing my brother’s family to cancel their Christmas traveling plans.

Burns family
Mack, Jon and Sarah Burns Photo courtesy of Lori Wilson

Around this time, my family and friends, knowing that I work at Children’s Medical Center, began contacting me to ask if they could still get their kid(s) a flu shot. "Good question," I told them (while wondering the same thing). I, at least, had the good judgment to tell my brother to make sure his entire family got the flu vaccine to keep my adorable niece from getting any sicker.

I searched back through this very blog for answers about the flu from real medical professionals. I felt like that would be more reliable than information coming from someone who just happens to work at a hospital (like me).

I made an appointment

It was at this point I made an appointment for Mack to get his flu vaccine. Despite the fact that my husband and I both got our flu shots back in October, we failed to recognize the importance of Mack also getting vaccinated. I know this is something I should have been on top of already, but I bet a lot of first-time moms are in the same boat right now. I cannot stress enough that it’s not too late to get your family the flu vaccine.

My pediatrician’s office had been inundated with parents trying to get their child a flu vaccine, and we actually had to wait a week and a half for Mack to receive his. In the meantime, while praying that Mack wouldn’t get sick, I consulted Dr. Jeffrey Kahn, division director of Children’s Medical Center’s Infectious Disease Program, about how we could continue to stay healthy.

He offered two no-brainer pieces of advice:

  • Wash your hands, often – especially when out in public. If you can’t get to a sink with soap, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Stay away from ill people.

Mack got his flu shot

Mack finally got his flu vaccine last week, so I can now say we are doing all we can to stay healthy. And my brother? Last night he texted me that he had not taken my advice to get a flu vaccine. He also revealed that he was texting me from his bedroom…while sick with the flu and quarantined from his family. This is not the first (nor will it be the last) time that I have been right, and he has been wrong.

If you or your child needs to get the flu vaccine, contact your primary care provider, Dallas County Health and Human Services or even your local pharmacy.

Have your kids already received their vaccine? If not, are you planning on getting them one?