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Riley Hospital for Children Flu-related Visitor Restrictions in Place for NICU

Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health flu-related visitor restrictions have been lifted. However, because babies, especially those who are ill or premature, are at higher risk of serious complications if they get the flu, visitation restrictions are still in place for all Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICUs) until further notice. 

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If you are experiencing a medical emergency, please call 9-1-1.

Are Flu Shots Recommended and Safe for Children?

Yes, they are safe and highly encouraged for everyone six months and older. Our vaccines are highly regulated by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) which works closely with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) among others to ensure the highest level of safety standards for the vaccine.

It’s important for all kids to get flu vaccines, but especially those who suffer from asthma and other chronic conditions and those who reside in households with young infants. This way, the kids are vaccinated and also help protect the babies who cannot get the flu shot until they are 6 months old.

Sometimes, people underestimate the seriousness of influenza and therefore dismiss the need to get vaccinated. Influenza is a highly contagious disease and can cause serious health problems. Pneumonia, among others, is seen quite frequently as a complication from the flu. Patients sometimes miss work and or school for days, end up in the hospital or even worse, some patients die as a result of the flu.

It takes approximately two weeks for the vaccine to provide full protection. Contrary to some belief, the flu vaccine cannot give patients the flu. Mild side effects such as soreness at the injection site and feeling achy are the most common and normally only last one to two days.

The thing to remember is that the flu vaccine is safe, is needed annually and is the best protection for the patient and those around him or her from being infected with the influenza virus. 

How can I ease my child’s anxiety about shots?

The majority of kids fear the doctor because they are scared they’re going to have to get a shot. There are a few things parents can do to help reduce their child’s fears.

  1. Talk about what will happen in the doctor’s office and tell the truth. Remind them that if they do get a shot, that it is to help keep them safe and healthy.
  2. Remind them that a shot will only hurt for a few seconds.
  3. Bring a toy, hold hands, make funny faces and sing songs to distract them while the shot is given.
  4. Ask for the nasal spray influenza vaccine; if it’s appropriate for your child, the nasal spray will make the flu shot one that nobody needs to fear.
  5. Be sure to provide immediate attention once the shot is given.
  6. Consider giving a reward after the shot. Even something simple like a sticker can help. 
Anne Marie Bianculli, MD

Author of this Article

Dr. Anne Marie Bianculli is a pediatrician at IU Health Arnett Medical Offices. For more information, please contact IU Health Arnett at 765.448.8000.

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