Three reasons why the flu shot is important
- The flu shot helps prevent against the flu. The flu shot is a vaccine that helps prevent against certain strains of the Influenza virus – the virus that causes flu. It takes two weeks after receiving the shot for the body to build up immunity, and it is important to get vaccinated each year because every year there are different strains of the flu that the shot protects against.
- Young children with hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS) may face complications due to the flu. While healthy children and adults may only have cold-like symptoms, individuals with other healthcare concerns may need escalated medical support. HLHS patients who get influenza can become critically ill.
- If people around patients with HLHS are vaccinated against the flu, they act as a barrier and protect the patients from getting the flu.This concept is known as herd immunity which protects people with compromised immune systems when the majority of the population is able to shield them from the virus.
Sometimes it is not possible for some individuals to get the flu shot. It’s essential to always discuss your specific situation with your care team but generally, the flu shot is recommended for everyone over the age of six months.
The Todd and Karen Wanek Family Program for Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS) is a collaborative network of specialists bonded by the vision of delaying or preventing heart failure for individuals affected by congenital heart defects including HLHS. The specialized team is addressing the various aspects of these defects by using research and clinical strategies ranging from basic science to diagnostic imaging to regenerative therapies. Email the program at HLHS@mayo.edu to learn more.