This is unfortunate, because most experts believe that flu epidemics begin and spread to adults from younger children.
If your child is in one of the high risk groups mentioned below, or if he has contact with someone in a high risk group, then you should consider getting him a flu shot each year. Keep in mind that the flu shot is now being formally recommended for all children 6 months to 18 years of age.
Influenza FactsInfluenza is a viral illness and typical flu symptoms include fever, cough, chills, sore throat, headache and muscle aches, which usually begin about 1-4 days after being exposed to someone with the flu. Symptoms are usually mild to moderate in most people, but can be more severe in the elderly or very young children, causing thousands of deaths each year (mostly elderly people).
You can get the flu if:
- you are around someone with the flu that coughs or sneezes and the germs enter your body through your mouth or nose
- you touch something, such as a door knob or sink faucet, that has been touched and contaminated by someone with the flu, and you then touch your own mouth or nose
Influenza Vaccine FactsThe influenza shot is an inactivated or killed vaccine and is usually changed each year to keep up with the most common strains of the influenza virus that are circulating and most likely to cause infections.
The influenza vaccine is available for children over the age of six months. To produce a good response, the first year that they get it, children under nine years of age need two doses of the vaccine given at least one month apart. Children over nine years and younger children who have previously had a flu shot only need a single injection each year, although younger children still may need two doses if they did not receive two or more doses of seasonal flu since July 1, 2010.
Flu shot reactions or side effects are usually mild, and may include soreness, redness or swelling where the shot was given, fever, and/or aches, and usually only last for 1-2 days. Children under 3 years should receive a 0.25ml dose of inactivated flu vaccine. Children over 3 years and adults should receive a dose of 0.5ml.
More serious side effects can rarely include a life-threatening allergic reaction.
CDC. Prevention and Control of Influenza with Vaccines: Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), 2012-13 Influenza Season. MMWR. August 17, 2012 / 61(32);613-618