We are already in the middle of autumn and that is synonymous not only with the school year, but also with runny nose, coughs and flu. As Lucía, my pediatrician, often says, our children usually catch viruses “in September and release them in May in the best of cases”. That is why it is at this time when we ask ourselves, coinciding with the flu vaccine campaign, whether we should vaccinate children. And it is that up to now, this dose is Funded only for babies under six months, pregnant women and people at risk, in addition to the cohabitants of these groups. However, as the pediatrician told us live on IGLive with our friends from Miniland, there is news on this topic.
And it is that the Vaccine Advisory Committee of the Spanish Association of Pediatrics recommends that this vaccine can also be applied to children between six months and five years. But it wasn’t until a few days ago when The National Health System has decided to finance the vaccine for all these children, regardless of whether or not they have risk factors. Of course, by becoming effective once the vaccination campaign has already begun, it has only reached some autonomous communities on time. This is the case of Murcia, Galicia and Andalusia. In the rest of the autonomies, the dose will still have to be paid for in the pharmacy, although from the next campaign (2023-2024) it will already be approved and financed, as is the case in several European countries and even in the United States. There, as soon as the school year begins, all children are vaccinated for free.
So, do I vaccinate or not vaccinate my son?
Once these news are known, perhaps the doubt assails us as parents: what do we do? Lucia, my pediatrician is clear. “The flu vaccine in children has always been a recommended measure. In fact, the WHO recommends it since 2012. And it is that unlike the coronavirus, the children here are the transmitters. When the flu arrives in our country, they are the first to catch it, and many enter it. In fact, two out of three children admitted with the flu do not have risk factors. It is true that they do not usually cause serious complications,” he explains.
In this sense, Lucía points out that when they see a peak of flu in children in the consultations, soon after the peak occurs in adults. “We see these two waves. That is why vaccinating children against the flu is an international strategy, but also a way to protect adults and, above all, those over 65 with pathologies who in many cases are grandparents who are taking care of her grandchildren. We must protect the child and the family and thus avoid transmission with the environment. Although our son is over five years old and has less risk of complications. I continue to vaccinate mine,” she advises without hesitation.
Can I vaccinate him with cough or runny nose?
Lucía, my pediatrician also has an answer to this question. If our son has a cough or runny nose, he can be perfectly vaccinated, since it is likely that this is the case, since we are between the months of September and May. But if what he has is an infectious process or fever, it is advisable to wait a few hours or days until you find the focus of that fever or that infection. It must be taken into account that there are more than 200 viruses that produce very similar symptoms. We must be prepared, because as the pediatrician announces, this year there will be “more viruses than last year and the previous year. We will reach pre-pandemic levels and we will have the feeling that our son suddenly falls ill many times in a row. The measures of two years ago, that is to say, the gels, the masks, the isolation, reduced the infectious pathologies of winter “, he concludes.
And what about brochiolitis?
This year pediatric emergencies have increased by 40% compared to previous years, as Lucía, my pediatrician, comments. AND this is where brochiolitis comes into the picture, which is a lower respiratory tract infection in a child under the age of two. Most of the time it is caused by a virus. “33% of children under one year of age will suffer from it and it is a disease that fills hospitals at this time of year and between 7 and 12% end up in the hospital,” according to Lucía. Normally these children start with a normal cold but after three days they are very weak, they stop eating and have an intercostal intraction (the ribs sink in). There is no clearly effective treatment, because according to the pediatrician, bronchodilators are not indicated for children if they are very young. “The important thing is to hydrate them and keep an eye on them,” she suggests. To prevent them, nothing better than frequent hand washing, if we have a cold, do not visit a baby and watch for those warning signs.