Flu season has officially started and although most influenza cases don't begin to pop up till late October, doctors say September is a perfect time to get vaccinated. And that includes getting shots for your youngsters and teens.
This week, the American Academy of Pediatrics released its new guidelines on influenza and children. Although there are no major changes, the group stresses it's important for parents to talk to their child's pediatrician about the vaccine.
Over the past few years, the Centers for Disease Control had recommended that children over the age of six months get either a traditional flu shot or a LAIV (live attenuated intranasal vaccine) sprayed in the nose, also known as FluMist. That has not changed. But because of the configuration of this year's vaccine, the AAP is recommending parents be aware of how many shots their children should have.
Last year, in most cases, only one shot was recommended. This year may be different, depending on the age of the child and when that child received his or her flu shot last year.
Because the guidelines are a bit complicated, AAP along with the CDC suggests parents talk to their child's doctor about the schedule. Some children, depending on when they received their shot last year, may need two vaccines while others will need only one. It's important that parents keep a record of their children's inoculations, so that proper dosages can be given each year.
Flu shots are already being offered in many clinics across the country. Many parents have asked if early September is too early to have their little ones vaccinated - and will they be protected all year? The CDC says if you or your child gets a vaccine now, the vaccine's protection will last throughout the flu season, which usually peaks in January and ends in March.