An influenza epidemic emerges every flu season, starts in November, peaks in January through March, and goes down in May. Every year there are two flu seasons due to the occurrence of influenza at different times in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. A review at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) division of the National Institute of Health (NIH) in 2008 concluded that “Seasonal influenza causes more than 200,000 hospitalizations and 41,000 deaths in the U.S. every year, and is the seventh leading cause of death in the U.S. The economic costs in the U.S. have been estimated at over $80 billion.”
Seasonal flu can be life threatening if precaution has not been taken beforehand. Getting the flu vaccine is the best way to protect you and your family from seasonal flu. Health experts recommend that every person ages 6 months and older should get a trivalent influenza vaccine this flu season. Recently American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) issued new flu shot guidelines for children as they are most vulnerable to flu-related complications.
- All children including 6 months and older should get an influenza vaccine this flu season.
- Children younger than 6 months of age should not receive influenza vaccine because they are too young.
- Children with high-risk conditions such as asthma, diabetes and neurological disorders must get the vaccines annually
- Only one dose is needed for children 9 years of age and older
- Children that fall in age group of 6 months to 9 years...
should get a minimum of two doses of 2009 pandemic H1N1 vaccine this year, if they have not received the seasonal flu vaccine before. However, if they already received the H1N1 vaccine during last year’s flu season, one dose of vaccine is needed this year.Children younger than 9 years who received seasonal flu vaccine last year for the first time, but only received one dose, should receive two doses this year.
- Also, those children under 9 years who received a flu vaccine last year, but for whom it is unclear whether it was a seasonal flu vaccine or the H1N1 flu vaccine, should receive two doses this year.
- All children who are recommended to get two doses this year should receive the second dose at least four weeks after the first dose.
Although children are more susceptible to get the seasonal flu, some more people are at higher risk of having serious flu-related complications like pregnant women, people 50 years of age and older, people with certain chronic medical conditions, people who live in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities and those who live with or care for those at high risk for complications from flu.
Well! Get your flu shot to stay healthy during flu season.