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Flu season is approaching!
The American Academy of Pediatrics has updated the recommendations for the prevention of influenza for the 2015-2016 flu season.
*Influenza, also called the "flu", is a respiratory virus that is spread by person to person when an infected person coughs or sneezes. A person becomes infected with the virus when it is inhaled. Your child can also become infected by touching a hard surface (desk) and then rubbing their eyes or placing their fingers in their nose or mouth.
*Sudden fever (100.4 or higher)
*Body aches and chills.
*More tired than usual.
*Dry, hacking cough.
*Stuffy, runny nose.
Symptoms can last 1 week or more.
*All children and adolescents 6 months of age and older.
*Children with conditions that increase the risk of complications from influenza (asthma, diabetes mellitus, cardiac disease, immunosuppression, or neurologic and neurodevelopmental disorders).
*All household contacts and out-of-home care providers of children with high-risk conditions and children younger than 5 years of age--especially infants younger than 6 months.
*Pregnant women are also recommended to receive the flu vaccine because they are considered high risk for developing complications caused by the influenza virus. This also protects their infants during the first six months due to antibodies that are transferred through the placenta.
As soon as flu vaccine is available!
*The influenza virus is unpredictable which means the flu season may start in early fall/winter and extend into late spring. There is no evidence that receiving the vaccine early in the influenza season increases the risk of infection.
*Children 6 months through 8 years receiving the influenza vaccine for the first time should receive a second dose of the vaccine at least 4 weeks after the first dose.
*Children 6 months through 8 years need only one dose of the vaccine if they have received two doses of seasonal influenza vaccine prior to July 1, 2015.
*Children under 9 years of age who have only had one flu vaccine need to get an additional dose.
*Children and adolescents 9 years of age and older need only one dose of the influenza vaccine.
For more information detailing influenza 2015-2016 recommendations; see AAP references below.