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Flu Vaccine Update: October 2019

Preparation for the coming influenza (flu) season has begun. Flu season is typically from October of this year through May of 2020, although the flu can be diagnosed year round. The Centers for Disease Prevention and Control’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, as well as the American Academy of Pediatrics, has released their updated recommendations for the 2019–2020 flu season for physicians and parents alike.

Here are some key points to make understanding the flu and flu prevention simple:

  • All children aged six months and older should be immunized with a flu shot prior to each season. By calendar year, this means that kids should ideally receive their flu shot by late October 2019.
  • If an infant or young child has never before received a flu shot, they will need two doses. The first shot, followed by a second dose at least four weeks later, ensures they have the best possible immune response to the vaccine.
  • Parents and caregivers of children should receive their flu shot too. In particular, caregivers of children too young to be immunized should get their shot.
  • This year, FluMist®, an intranasal vaccine is again available to healthy children over the age of two. The AAP recommends FluMist® equally to flu shot. Which method is right for your child is worth a discussion with the doctor.
  • Infants, children, and adults with egg allergy can still receive the flu shot.
  • Pregnant women can receive the flu shot but not the FluMist® at any time during their pregnancy.
  • Breastfeeding mothers can also safely receive the flu shot.
  • Frequent hand washing, particularly before eating, is an important way of preventing the flu. Influenza is transmitted through respiratory droplets from sneezing and coughing.
  • One hundred seventy two children died during the 2017–2018 flu season, a large percentage of whom had not been vaccinated.

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