Flu season isn’t exactly the most wonderful time of the year, but there are ways to reduce your little one’s risk of getting the influenza virus. The best strategies are washing your hands frequently, avoiding sick people, and getting the flu shot. It’s understandable to feel nervous about your little one getting a shot, but the benefits of the flu shot far exceed any discomfort they might feel.
The flu shot is a vaccine that immunizes recipients against the influenza virus. It’s usually given through a needle injection to the arm, and it’s recommended that everyone over six months old receive it every year. This is because your response to immunization wears off over time and the shot is adjusted for each flu season to include the viruses expected to be most common.
Once your child is six months old, it’s recommended by the CDC that they be vaccinated against the flu every year. The flu is especially dangerous for children, and severe influenza complications are most common in children younger than two years old. Having Baby immunized against the flu is the best way to protect them from the potentially severe health complications that can come with it.
There are special vaccinations for children six months old to eight years old. If your child is six months to eight years old and getting vaccinated for the first time, they will probably need two doses to be fully immunized. If your child requires two doses and only receives one, they will not be immunized against the flu.
The second dose should be given 28 days after the first, so try to get the first one done as soon as the vaccine is available. This way, they will be immunized for most of flu season. It will be about two weeks after the second dose before full immunization, so earlier is definitely better. Many vaccines are available as early as August. Waiting until October is fine for older children, but toddlers are better off getting immunized as soon as possible.
- “Key facts about seasonal flu vaccine.” CDC. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. October 14, 2016. Web.
- Children, the flu, and the flu vaccine.” CDC. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. August 5, 2016. Web.