ATLANTA (Sept. 24, 2018) – With influenza season around the corner, Children's Healthcare of Atlanta is urging families to get vaccinated to be protected from the flu virus this year. For optimal protection, Children’s recommends everyone receive their flu vaccination by the end of October 2018.
“The flu season is unpredictable. The best way to protect yourself and your family from the flu is for everyone 6 months and older to get a seasonal flu vaccine,” says Andi Shane, M.D., M.P.H., M.Sc., Medical Director, Hospital Epidemiology, Children's Healthcare of Atlanta. “We are fortunate to have vaccines for seasonal influenza - commonly known as the flu shot - that can help prevent flu infections and prevent the spread of the flu. It’s important for everyone over the age of 6 months to get a seasonal flu vaccine as soon as possible to have the best chance of immunity when flu is present in our community.”
Seasonal flu infections were associated with 179 pediatric deaths and more than 30,000 hospitalizations nationwide during the 2017-2018 influenza season, according to the CDC.
“Every child should see their primary care provider to get immunized against the flu, preferably before Halloween,” said Dr. Stephanie Jernigan, M.D., Pediatric Nephrology, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. “The flu can be especially dangerous for those with chronic illnesses or a weakened immune system. Hand hygiene is one of the simplest and most effective ways to stop the spread of germs, including influenza.”
Everyone 6 months of age and older should be vaccinated annually against influenza. Children younger than 8 years may need two doses of flu vaccine to be fully protected from flu. The two doses should be given at least four weeks apart. If the child has received two or more total doses of flu vaccine during any previous influenza season, they will only need one dose during this season. The child’s doctor or other health care professional can tell parents or guardians whether a child needs two doses.