The flu shot protects against influenza, a respiratory illness that can cause mild to severe illness. “Flu season” in the United States, when the influenza virus circulates at higher levels, is from around October to May, and people typically get vaccinated in those early months. Symptoms of the flu include:
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Sore throat
- Body aches
There are many versions of the flu shot, including specific vaccines for people who are over 65 and who are allergic to eggs (most vaccines are manufactured using eggs). The CDC recommends that everyone over six months old get the flu shot every year.
If your child is younger than six months old, they are not yet old enough to get the flu shot. To make sure they are still as protected as possible, make sure that every caregiver and everyone in your household is immunized. Young people are at high risk for flu complications, which can be life-threatening. You can reduce the likelihood of the flu being passed to your child by avoiding sick people and getting the vaccination yourself.
Once your child is six months old, it’s recommended that they be vaccinated against the flu every year. There are special instructions for children six months to eight years old, and your child may need two doses to be properly vaccinated. The second dose will come at least 28 days after the first dose, so it’s helpful to get the first dose early in flu season. Once they have had two doses of the vaccine, they will just need one per year.
- Steckelberg, James M., “Does my child need a flu shot this year?” Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic. October 12, 2016. Web.
- “Key facts about seasonal flu vaccine.” CDC. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. October 14, 2016. Web.
- “Flu symptoms & complications.” CDC. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. May 23, 2016. Web.