The CDC recommends an annual flu shot for everyone age 6 months and older. The good news this season is that the flu vaccine is a very good match. The bad news is that hospitals are seeing more children with serious symptoms. Pediatrician Melissa Stockwell informs us that the flu can be more serious for children and it spreads rapidly among family members:
Pediatricians have always worried that parents think of the flu as a bad cold when that is not the case, Stockwell explains. Children have smaller airways, placing them at risk for respiratory complications from flu. The combination of high fevers and feeling unwell can also make it hard for children to drink fluids and can quickly lead to dehydration, she says.
According to the CDC children under six months are at highest risk.
Children younger than 6 months old have the highest risk for being hospitalized from flu compared to children of other ages but are too young to get a flu vaccine. Because flu vaccines are not approved for use in children younger than 6 months old, protecting them from flu is especially important.
. . . As a caregiver to a young child, you should get a flu vaccine, and make sure that other caregivers and all household members aged 6 months and older also get vaccinated each year. By getting vaccinated, you will be less likely to get flu and therefore less likely to spread flu to the child.
So get all family members and caregivers vaccinated and create your own little herd.
Here’s information from the RI Department of Health with a link for finding a shot near you. And how about pregnant women like poor Rosemary?
Flu shots are important for everyone older than six months. They are especially important for certain people, including older adults, younger children, healthcare workers, pregnant women, people with a weakened immune system, and people with chronic medical conditions like diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and asthma.
Always consult your doctor.