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Why getting the flu vaccine is so important for children this year & how to ease their shot fears: Mom Minute Monday

In our series 'Mom Minute Monday,' we take topics that matter to you, to the experts. Today: Why getting your child vaccinated against the flu is so important?

CLEVELAND — We are getting into flu season. No one loves needles, and some people are anxious or scared to get a shot -- even if it can help them. But this year, getting vaccinated can have a huge impact, especially getting children vaccinated.

3News’ Hollie Strano talked to Dr. Amy Edwards, pediatric infectious disease specialist at University Hospitals.

First up: How do you handle flu shots if your child is afraid? Dr. Edwards told us about the strategies that work best with her kids.

“I have two kids," she said. "With my daughter it's best to give her lots of lead time. She does really well if she's prepared. With my son, it's best to just spring it on him and not tell him it's coming.”

Hollie asked about the best way to explain the importance of getting vaccinated against the flu this year.

“I would say, this year we we have to keep the flu season under control for so many different reasons,” Dr. Edwards said. “We have no idea what the overlap between influenza and COVID could do to a patient.”

The doctor also explained that unlike with COVID-19, kids are the primary drivers of flu outbreaks.

“The more kids that are vaccinated, then the less influenza we have in circulation just in general.”

One concern is that the flu and COVID-19 have so many symptoms in common. Everything from body aches, to fever, headache, a sore throat and more. Dr. Edwards, however, says there's one symptom that is different.

“The only symptom I can think of with COVID that I've never heard of in influenza, is the loss of smell and taste. But of course, that's not happening with everybody with COVID, so I would say there's really not going to be a lot of ways to tell the difference.”

Because COVID-19 and influenza share so many of the same symptoms, Dr. Edwards says if someone comes in to be tested, they will run tests for both viruses.

Click here for more information on the flu and COVID-19 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.