Flu Shot for Toddler Who Has a Cough?

Updated on November 15, 2012
I.:. asks from Minneapolis, MN
11 answers

My 21 month old has had a cough for 2.5 weeks now. We've been to the Dr. twice for it, last thursday the dr put her on a nebulizer with alburtoral which she takes 3x a day for a week. She still has the cough, especially at night and while riding in the car (weird, i know).

I had a flu shot scheduled 2 weeks ago but canceled it cuz of her cough. I had rescheduled it for tomorrow. But tomorrow is tomorrow and she still has the cough. Should I give her the flu shot? Or hold off? I hate to have her go into the holidays with no flu shot! But I feel like her poor immune system is trying to deal with this cough...

The Dr says as long as she doesn't have a fever she is ok to get the shot. But I just don't know... what do you mom's think??


PS I do believe the flu vaccine is more beneficial that harmful, obviously or I wouldn't let her get it, so please, don't tell me why I should not get it for her at all. That's not my question. Thanks.

PPS how long before I should go BACK to the Dr and say that this cough is NOT getting better, staying the same? I feel like we are ALWAYS at the Dr lately!

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

Featured Answers



answers from Los Angeles on

I would not send any vaccine into a compromised immune system, especially the flu shot. Hold off and build her immune system with probiotics and plenty of fruits/veggies for the holidays.

3 moms found this helpful

More Answers


answers from Columbia on

Hi. I give flu shots almost every day this time of year. I hope I can help you to decide.

Your situation isn't just a simple yes or no. I think the doctor needs to decide.

I don't USUALLY give flu shots to patients who are exhibiting signs of cold or flu. I have them wait until they are well again and then come back, because the shot can make them FEEL a bit more sick (it can't make them sick, but it can make their symptoms feel worse for a short while) since their body is making even MORE antibodies.

**BUT**, you have a unique situation, because your child is on corticosteriods. I highly recommend that patients on corticosteroids DO get a flu shot. The flu is hard on these folks, because taking inhaled corticosteroids can depress your immune system, making it very hard to fight off the influenza virus.

Please call and talk to your doctor's office about this. Let them know about your child's cough AND the fact that your child is on inhaled corticosteroids. Let them know that you are concerned about his immune system being depressed and want to get him a shot right away if the doctor recommends it.

If your child were my patient, I would give him the flu shot to protect him. Please call your child's doctor.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Tampa on

Hold off on the flu shot. Her immune system is overworked right now and won't be able to handle the vaccine.

My doctors have avoided giving my kids vaccines when they are sick, fever or not.

I don't get the flu shot and neither do my kids, but I won't try to change your mind on that.

My 6 yr old had this nagging cough at night when he was younger. I had to change his whole diet. Took him off gluten and most milk products. Cleaned up his room, got him a new mattress, got rid of a pad on his bed that I suspected he might be allergic to..... Put fresh plants in there and an air purifier. He's on vitamins and supplements and doing much better. Good luck to you.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dover on

I speak from experience when I say that cough can and often will linger. Did she have other symptoms that have since cleared up? Are there any other symptoms now? Has the cough gotten better?

In my daughter's case, she often has other symptoms (allergies/sinus issues) that cause the cough. We have to treat the other symptoms and get them cleared up before the cough will subside (and it lingers longer than the other symptoms).

I personally would wait until she was completely symptom free but I must tell you that since they started combining the flu vaccine into one (including the H1N1) I haven't let my daughter get the flu shot. Prior to them being combined I did but I don't trust the H1N1 AND you can still get the flu. I am not telling you not to give it to her (that is your call) but I wouldn't while she is symptomatic.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Sorry, I cringe when small children are put on inhalers and steroids in general. Doctors will give it out but doesn't mean they really need it. Push it. Ask if it's absolutely necessary. They will say.. it's up to you or they will give a firm yes. My son was supposed to use it when he needed it but he "needed" it everyday at school. When the nurse told me he used it everyday I told her to stop giving it to him, he doesn't need it at home, he should not need it at school except for emergencies per my instructions. I talked to him about the fact that it's for emergencies and it's a drug and you have to be careful... Guess what? Four years later and he's used it about 3 times.

*******************Gripe over**************************
You know your child, I don't so I'm going to assume your child really needs it. Most doctors steer clear of shots when the child is already sick. A long lasting cough should be looked into though. Don't they say one week? And if the meds are not helping, I would personally stop using it and find another option. Doctors use trial and error just like all sciences. Not his fault if he didn't catch what was wrong, just that he catches what is most likely wrong. So best thing to do is bring it up, bring it up, bring it up.

I've always held off and my doctor has always been okay with it. But... I was at a PFO meeting and apparently (in our area) there is a particularly nasty flu going around so I really need to get my kids in!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

We've got the flu shot while having slight colds/coughs.
We never had a problem with it.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Personally, I would wait on the shot. Certainly, some kids are fine when they get a shot while mildly ill, however, I've also heard from both my son's doctors and his chiropractor that there have been alarming side effects, including seizures, from receiving vaccines during illness. Granted, this is anecdotal, however, having heard it from three very competent medical professionals at differing times I would choose to err on the side of caution.

Also, if the cough isn't abating, in a few more days, do go in. This is a great time of year for allergies to spring up, and I would ask about that specifically.. Our son was diagnosed with them earlier this year; getting him on medication specific to his allergy symptoms was really a blessing for us. Good luck-- I hope your little girl feels better soon.

ps- I really agree with Christy Lee's advice... I'd call the doctor, given that information about the corticosteroids. Great advice.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

If it makes you feel any better I am in the same boat. Must be something that went around because I am soooo tired of hearing coughing in my house! I got my flu shot but the kids haven't yet because of this cough and I am also hesitant until I know they are well. I guess it depends on how much you trust your doc.


answers from Minneapolis on

I didn't have a fever, just a bad cough (bronchitis, but they didn't know that) and they wouldn't give me the flu shot.



answers from Minneapolis on

I would ask for a chest xray-i was told the only way they cant do a flu shot is if your in ICU-I had a sinus infection when I got mine.no biggy-but id sure get to the bottom of that cough-try honey n lemon mix to sooth the throat-works great-no side affects-id it all thru the yrs with my kids.
good luck



answers from Duluth on

I have read that children's coughs, in particular, can linger long beyond the time when the child is contagious or actually 'sick'. That said, if your child is on medication, I would definitely recommend talking to the doctor about whether now is a good time or whether to wait. When I was pregnant, I made the mistake of getting my flu shot and my DTaP shot after I had been exposed to a nasty cold my mother-in-law had, and my immune system just went into overload--I got her cold, along with side effects of the flu shot (I've NEVER had side effects, from ANY shot) and the DTaP. I felt AWFUL for about 3 weeks, and it was almost as bad as when my family had H1N1 and/or Influenza A. I'm still glad I got the shots, to protect me and the baby and my family, but wow, getting them when my immune system was down was a mistake I won't make again! That said, it might have been the pregnancy, it might have been the EXACT timing (I wasn't yet sick), it might have been two shots on top of each other...ask your doc!

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions