Flu is more dangerous than the common cold for children. Each year, flu places a large burden on the health and well-being of children and families. An influenza vaccination is the best method for preventing flu and its potentially severe complications in children.Flu facts:
- Children commonly need medical care because of influenza, especially before they turn 5 years old.
- Each year an average of 20,000 children under the age of 5 are hospitalized because of influenza complications.
- Some children will die from the flu each year. During the 2007-08 flu season, 86 children died from influenza-related complications.
- Severe influenza complications are most common in children younger than 2 years old.
- Children with chronic health problems like asthma and diabetes are at especially high risk of developing serious flu complications.
- Check out Sharecare.com for answers to questions on the cold and flu
CDC recommends that all children aged 6 months up to their 19th birthday get a flu vaccine.Â CDC also recommends that people in contact with certain groups of children get a seasonal flu vaccine in order to protect the child (or children) in their lives from the flu. People in the following circumstances should also get flu vaccinations:
- Close contacts of children younger than 5 years old (people who live with them) should get a flu vaccine.
- Out-of-home caregivers (nannies, daycare providers, etc.) of children younger than 5 years old should get a flu vaccine.
- People who live with or have other close contact with a child or children of any age with a chronic health problem (asthma, diabetes, etc.) should get a flu vaccine.
- In addition, it is recommended that all health care workers be vaccinated each year to keep from spreading the flu to their patients.
Children 6 months up to 9 years of age getting a flu vaccine for the first time will need two doses of vaccine the first year they are vaccinated. If possible, the first dose should be given as soon as vaccine becomes available. The second dose should be given 28 or more days after the first dose. The first dose "primes" the immune system; the second dose provides immune protection. Children who only get one dose but need two doses can have reduced or no protection from a single dose of flu vaccine. Two doses are necessary to protect these children. If your child needs two doses, begin the process early, so that children are protected before influenza starts circulating in your community. Be sure to follow up to get your child a second dose if they need one. It usually takes about two weeks after the second dose for protection to begin.