Health Team

The best way to prevent the flu this school year

Doctors say it's better not to wait for those first flu cases before getting your child immunized.

Posted Updated

Allen Mask
, M.D., Health Team physician

Back-to-school time for kids is also a time when germs begin to circulate. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, flu activity begins to rise in October and typically peaks between December and February.

Doctors say it's better not to wait for those first flu cases before getting your child immunized. In fact, all children over the age of six months should get vaccinated for the seasonal flu as soon as the vaccine is available.

"Flu really spreads quickly in schools, so it's a good idea as you think about back-to-school readiness that you think about getting the flu vaccine for your child," said Dr. Kim Giuliano with The Cleveland Children's Clinic.

Dr. Giuliano says it's especially important in children under five years of age, because they are considered at greater risk for complications from flu infections.

The vaccine is a tried and true way to protect a child from getting the flu, or at least reducing the severity if they do get sick.

Children with certain medical conditions like asthma, diabetes and disorders of the brain or nervous system are also at high risk if they get the flu. Even if a perfectly healthy child catches the bug, they can easily take a turn for the worse.

Flue shot

"We unfortunately see influenza complications, and even influenza deaths, in healthy children every single year in this country and so it is an important vaccine for all children regardless of their health status," said Dr. Giuliano.

Since children under six months should not get the flu vaccine, it is it all the more important for pregnant women to get the vaccine as well as older children, parents and other adults who are around babies. The flu vaccine is becoming more available at many doctors' offices, clinics and pharmacies.


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