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Get vaccinated

The flu is common, but often unpredictable, and one of the best ways to keep your family healthy is to stay up-to-date on your annual flu vaccinations.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) currently recommend the vaccine for children 6 months or older.  It takes around two weeks after receiving the vaccine to build up protective antibodies that fight the virus, so it's important to get immunized early in the season -- and ideally no later than October. 

You can read the full recommendations for the flu vaccine by the CDC here

And this Healthmap Vaccine Finder can help you find facilities, including retail clinics, that offer the flu vaccine. Contact your physician for more information.

Symptoms, Treatment and Prevention

Symptoms

The flu is a respiratory illness caused by a virus. It can be mild or severe, and in some extreme cases can lead to death. Flu can be especially dangerous for those with chronic illnesses or a weakened immune system. Symptoms of the flu can include:

  • Chills
  • Runny nose
  • Sore throat
  • Cough
  • Fever (usually 100.4 or higher)
  • Diarrhea
  • Headache
  • Loss of appetite
  • Muscle aches
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Child appearing more tired than usual

Treatment Advice from Our Pediatric Experts

If you suspect your child has the flu, your first step should be to contact your child's pediatrician. Because the flu is a virus, it needs to run its course, which means lots of TLC and rest at home. 

More at-home flu care tips:

  • Children's ibuprofen or acetaminophen (Advil or Tylenol) can be given to help reduce fever and ease body aches
  • Offer plenty of fluids to help prevent dehydration -- soft fruits, blended frozen juice drinks, and ice pops can also be given if your child gets tired of water
  • Encourage rest and couch time
  • A humidifier in your child's room can help break up nasal and chest congestion

Staying Flu-Free This Season

You can help keep your family well by steering clear of other people with the virus, encouraging frequent hand-washing, keeping noses and mouths covered with a tissue when coughing or sneezing, and keeping your family up to date on their vaccinations. Keeping hard surfaces clean can also help prevent the spread of flu germs.

Arm little immune systems with plenty of sleep and exercise, and a nutrient-rich diet full of flu-fighting fruits, vegetables and protein.

Helpful Resources

Resources for families

If you think your child might have the flu and are wondering whether you should seek medical assistance, it is always best to contact your child’s pediatrician. You can also reference one of the following resources:

Find out if your child should see a doctor

Get more important information about protecting your family from the flu

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