Too Sick for School? Flu Facts Every Parent Needs

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Don't Rely Solely on the Shot

Pediatricians everywhere have likely seen a sick patient alongside a frantic parent lamenting, “The flu shot didn’t work!” It’s more complex than many people think. The Center for Disease Control advises that all adults and children who aren’t allergic get a flu vaccine, but doing so doesn’t ensure you can’t still get the flu. The CDC says the vaccine is “62 percent effective.”

Influenza is a virus that mutates rapidly, and vaccine manufacturers try to predict what the strain of the virus will be months ahead of time. “It's impossible to have a vaccine that heals all the different viruses,” says Dr. Carl Ivey, a parenting coach and retired pediatrician in Victoria, British Columbia. “It's like trying to hit a moving target because these viruses are constantly mutating."