Fall can mean a lot of things. It features pumpkin spice everything, sweater weather, the start of the holidays, and the dreaded flu! If the last one sounds unappealing and unwelcome, fear not. Doctors are recommending that parents get their children the flu vaccine now, or as soon as possible.
According to numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), last year, the flu season was severe. Influenza claimed the lives of 180 children. CDC numbers also found that of the children who died, 80% were not vaccinated. That’s why the American Academy of Pediatrics is recommending that parents not wait.
The 2018 guidelines, which came out earlier this month, recommend the flu vaccine for everyone six months and older as soon as the vaccine becomes available in their area. The flu vaccine is still the best way to defend yourself against the virus. AAP recommends getting the vaccine as early as possible but if you must wait, try to get it done before the end of October.
Parents keep in mind that a young child may need two doses given four weeks apart. Of course, discuss the dosage and how it will be administered with your pediatrician.
Flu season can be a challenging time for expectant mothers as well because pregnant women are more at risk for complications arising from the flu. It is recommended that you get a flu shot if you’re pregnant. The vaccine will provide protection to your newborn during the first 6 months of their life during the time at which they are still too young to receive the vaccine themselves, according to doctors.
The vaccination is also safe for nursing mothers and their babies.
While it’s hard to predict the exact start of flu season, it typically starts in October and lasts through March but sometimes it can last through May, according to the CDC.
There are many places that offer the flu shot now. For your children check with your pediatrician’s office. A number of pharmacies like CVS, Walgreens, and Rite Aid offer the flu shot in many of their drugstores. You can also check out the CDC’s Vaccine Finder tool online, to find the location nearest you.