When Should Kids Get The Flu Vaccine?

This year in particular, parents should be vigilant about finding out when their kids should get the flu shot and how many shots they may need. Certain children will need two shots for total protection. Read on to find out when should kids get the flu vaccine and at what age.

The Flu Is Dangerous For Children

The flu is not the common cold! It is especially dangerous if your child has other health problems like a weakened immune system and heart or lung issues. It is very contagious, so getting everyone vaccinated is your best way to prevent your child from getting the flu this season, and keep everyone safe.

It is contagious before symptoms show up, so getting your kid’s shot early is best practice.

little boy getting shot in his arm

When To Get The Shot

Flu season runs between September and March. Get vaccinated early in September if possible, and this includes you, your children, and any caregivers.  Flu vaccines are updated each season to protect against the viruses that will be most common the upcoming year. Your immunity will set in about two weeks afterward as the antibodies develop.

Vaccination Instructions For Children 6 Months Old Through 8 Years

This group of children should get two flu shots this season with some exceptions. If your child only had one dose last year, or if this is their first time, they will need two now.

The first one should be as early in the season as possible, and the second should be about 4 weeks later. Consult with Elmwood Pediatric Group to find out if your child needs two doses.

Side effects may include soreness at the site of the shot, some muscle weakness, and fever.

High Risk Children

Any child younger than 6 months cannot be vaccinated from the flu. In this case, the mother and the rest of the family should all get their flu shot to protect the baby.

If you are pregnant, you should get the flu shot to protect you, as well as your baby for up to several months after birth.

In addition, the CDC tells us children younger than age 5 are at a higher risk of needing hospitalization from the flu. Even without any other health issues, they are at a higher risk of complications just because of their age. Since 2010, between 7K and 26K children have been hospitalized with the flu.

Other high risk children include the following:

  • American Indians and Alaskan natives are more likely to have severe illness leading to hospitalization or death.
  • Children ages 6 months to 18 years of age with COPD, asthma, cystic fibrosis, neurologic or neurodevelopmental issues, heart disease, blood disorders, diabetes plus other health issues.
  • Children who are obese or who take aspirin.

Parents can find a complete CDC guide to the flu here.

See Elmwood Pediatric Group as soon as possible this flu season for your child’s flu shot and for any additional questions.

For further questions or to schedule an appointment, please call (585) 244-9720.

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