Back to school means fall is around the corner which unfortunately welcomes the start of the flu season. Outbreaks of the seasonal flu usually begin in fall and run through early spring. In a typical year, approximately 5 to 20 percent of the population falls victim to the miserable chills, aches, and fever associated with the flu virus.
Who should get a flu shot? Well, pretty much everyone. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all children 6 months and older receive an annual flu shot in the fall.
Because a person’s immunity decreases by as much as 50 percent, 6 to 12 months after vaccination, it’s important for kids and their parents to be immunized annually.
The recommendations, published in the October print issue of the Journal Pediatrics, also advise vaccination for all women who are pregnant, considering pregnancy, or breast-feeding during the flu season.
For most children with a history of a mild egg allergy, the flu vaccine is safe, but parents should consult an allergist before flu vaccine is given to children with a history of severe egg allergy, the AAP said in its news release.
The recommendations also include the following:
- Children 6 months through 8 years old should get two doses of the seasonal flu vaccine four weeks apart if they got none last year.
- Kids up to 8 years old need only one dose if they got at least one dose last year.
- Children 9 years and up need just one dose of flu vaccine.
- Until 6 months of age, infants are too young to be immunized.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more about children and the flu vaccination.