CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - 5-year-old Caleb knows every year around this time what to expect when it comes to getting a flu shot.
His mother, Darlene Kegg, says she has made getting a flu shot an annual family ritual.
"We usually just make a day of it because I got my shot this morning and we are here now, then ice cream,” says Kegg.
Charlene who was a health care professional before becoming a stay at home mom knows first hand the dangers of not getting vaccinated against the flu.
She says she has never thought twice about her kids getting the shot.
"They have always gotten the flu shot because being a nurse I saw the effects of the flu on pregnant women and babies,” says Kegg.
Last year alone the numbers of people with the flu were staggering.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, there was a record 900,000 hospitalizations and about 80,000 deaths nationwide.
Dr. Christian Kegg works in Summerville Medical Center’s pediatric unit and says flu deaths can be prevented and that’s why the shot is so important.
“Last year about 180 children died of the flu and of those children only about 80 percent did not get the flu shot and 20 percent did have the shot,” says Dr. Kegg.
Dr Kegg says although the flu shot is not a 100 percent guarantee that you won’t get the flu but if you do, it often lessons the severity of symptoms.
“The flu can last up to two weeks when you do not get the flu shot. When you get the flu shot that might decrease to having a fever for 3 or 4 days opposed to two weeks,” says Dr. Kegg.
“My oldest one does not like shots but its something you have to do to keep you well and that’s what where going to do,” says Charlene.
Dr. Kegg says the flu shot is especially important for those with weakened immune systems and people with asthma.