I don't necessarily believe that we can accurately predict a particular season's flu-strain, especially at the rate of mutations... HOWEVER, I WILL DO EVERYTHING IN MY POWER TO KEEP MY CHILD FROM BEING UNNECESSARILY HOSPITALIZED. If that takes $20 for a flu shot, fine... **Infants and small children are particularly vulnerable to colds adults take for granted.**
Even if you stay at home with her... Does that mean she never goes to the park? What about church daycare? What about playdates with children whose parents travels regularly? or those who frequent the gym? What about the grocery cart? Does she play with your shoes... yeah, the ones that walk all over the mall and public bathroom floors? There are so many places she can pick the virus up from... especially at an age when she's sticking her fingers in her mouth all the time.
Sure, the flu shot may not detour my toddler from getting it... or, maybe if she does get it, it might decrease its severity... I don't know. But I am horrified by the what-if thought of being a parent to one of the children who die each year from the flu... Can you imagine the guilt from wondering if things would have been different if you had just given your child the vaccine?
Here's a link to recent article which I found particularly interesting. It links the risk of sever flu complications to simultaneous bacteria infections. And I do believe that getting a virus can decrease your immunity to fighting off a secondary infection, particularly lung infections (pneumonia and brochiolitis can develop so fast in small children!). Below I pulled points I thought were notable from the article, however you can read the entirety at: http://www.cidrap.umn.edu/cidrap/content/influenza/genera...
- Most victims weren't vaccinated: A troubling aspect of the report is that most of the children who died had not been vaccinated against flu, which would have protected them from primary viral onslaughts such as encephalopathy, as well as from the lethal synergy of flu and bacterial infection. Ninety of the 166 had an underlying condition such as asthma or a seizure disorder, but only 18 of them had received even one of the two flu shots recommended for young children.
- The number of children who have died from a combination of influenza infection and bacterial pneumonia—in many cases due to the superbug methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)—has risen sharply over the past few years...
- Overall, child deaths from influenza are relatively uncommon. There were 166 between autumn 2004 and spring 2007, only a few more than the 153 that occurred in the harsh 2003-04 flu season. But child deaths from flu are rising, and serious complications from bacterial infections such as MRSA are playing a much larger role.
- The deaths were very rapid: 45% of the children died within 72 hours of their first symptoms and 75% died within a week, while 43% died either at home or in an emergency room.
- Bacterial infection superimposed on flu was not the only cause of death; children also died from seizures, encephalitis, and shock. But it played an important role: Coinfections were involved in 6%, 15%, and 34% in the three successive seasons, a fivefold increase. Almost all of that increase was due to S aureus: There were one staph infection in 2004-05, 3 in 2005-06, and 22 in 2006-07, and 64% of the staph infections were drug-resistant.