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Health Team

Sorry kids: It's time to get a flu shot

Posted September 4

Labor Day is the unofficial end of summer, and for pediatricians and parents that means it's time to start thinking about fall flu shots.

Doctors say everyone over 6 months of age should be vaccinated, and that means a shot.

For a second year in a row, doctors are not recommending the nasal spray.

"Children are the great distributors the influenza virus. They give it to each other, and then they bring it home and give it to grandparents and uncles and aunts and moms and dads," said Dr. William Schaffner of Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

The American Academy of Pediatrics is advising pediatricians to offer the vaccine as soon as it's available, certainly before the end of October.

"Flu shot for infants and children are extremely important," Schaffner said.

Even though last year's vaccine was only about 50 percent effective, experts still say it's the best option we have to protect against the flu.

"Influenza ia a serious illness. It can take a healthy person and make them so sick that they have to go to the emergency room and be admitted," Schaffner said. "And it can happen fast, within 24 hours."

The vaccine is also recommended for women who are breast-feeding, pregnant or are even thinking of becoming pregnant.

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