Medical experts: get kids their flu shots early

Some good advice on the importance of getting flu shots and flu symptoms for children early.  As an adult, flu symptoms are usually just unpleasant but flu symptoms for a child can be fatal, so make sure you get flu shots for your kids early. And one important thing to remember – adults can infect children so all adults in regular contact with children, which obviously includes parents and carers, should also get flu shots as soon as possible.”

Influenza (“the flu”) is more dangerous than the common cold for children. Each year, many children get sick with seasonal influenza; some of those illnesses result in death.   Children commonly need medical care because of influenza, especially before they turn 5 years old. Severe influenza complications are most common in children younger than 2 years old.   Children with chronic health problems like asthma, diabetes and disorders of the brain or nervous system are at especially high risk of developing serious flu complications.   Each year an average of 20,000 children under the age of 5 are hospitalized because of influenza complications.

Flu seasons vary in severity, however some children die from flu each year. From 2003-2004 to 2011-2012, pediatric deaths reported to CDC ranged from 46 to 153 per year. During the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, 348 pediatric deaths were reported to CDC from April 15, 2009 to October 2, 2010.

The single best way to protect your children from the flu is to get them vaccinated each year.

The seasonal flu vaccine protects against three influenza viruses that research indicates will be most common during the season: an influenza A (H1N1) virus, an influenza A (H3N2) virus and an influenza B virus. For more information about this season’s vaccine selection, visit Vaccine Virus Selection for the 2012-2013 Influenza Season.

CDC recommends that everyone 6 months of age and older get a seasonal flu vaccine. Keep in mind that vaccination is especially important for certain people who are high risk or who are in close contact with high risk persons, including the following groups:

Children younger than 5 years of age, and children of any age with a long-term health condition like asthma, diabetes or disorders of the brain or nervous system. These children are at higher risk of serious flu complications (like pneumonia) if they get the flu.

Adults who meet any of the following criteria should also be vaccinated:

• Are close contacts of children younger than 5 years old (people who live with them).

• Are out-of-home caregivers (nannies, daycare providers, etc.) of children younger than 5 years old.

• Live with or have other close contact with a child or children of any age with a chronic health problem (asthma, diabetes, etc.).

• Are health care workers

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