Ready or not, flu season is on its way. Protecting your family is simple: Get the flu vaccine. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) advises everyone (yup, the whole family) older than 6 months to get the vaccine. Preschool- and school-aged kids are the most frequently affected once flu season kicks into high gear.
This year, there’s some good news for kids who dread shots. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says the nasal spray vaccine will be just as effective as the flu shot, unlike previous years when the AAP only recommended the shot. The AAP also recommends all kids 6 months and older get either the flu shot or spray.
Besides the misery of body aches, high fever, coughs, chills and a sore throat, the flu also results in thousands of deaths each year, according to the AAP. Sadly, many deaths occur in otherwise healthy kids from complications such as pneumonia. Kids who are at greatest risk for flu-related complications are those younger than 5 years old or kids with chronic health issues like asthma or diabetes.
If your kid’s younger than 6 months, which is too young to be immunized, make sure all caregivers around the child have been vaccinated. The virus is unpredictable and easily spread by coughing and sneezing, or by touching things like doorknobs then your eyes, nose or mouth. To make sure you and your child are protected, get the shot before the flu starts circulating in your community, which is typically fall through spring.