Protect kids from flu this school year

Once kids start school, germs begin to circulate.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, flu activity begins to rise in October and peaks between December and February.

But Kim Giuliano, M.D., of Cleveland Clinic Children’s said kids will need their flu shots long before that.

She recommends children over the age of six months be vaccinated against the flu as soon as the vaccine becomes available.

“Flu really spreads quickly in schools, so it’s a good idea as you think about back-to-school readiness, that you think about getting the flu vaccine for your child,” said Dr. Giuliano. “Many pediatricians’ offices and pharmacies will start stocking the vaccine as early as September.”

Children, especially those under five, are considered to be high risk for complications related to the flu.

Dr. Giuliano said the flu shot is the best way to protect a child from getting influenza.

She adds that children with certain medical conditions, like asthma, diabetes, and disorders of the brain or nervous system, are at higher risk for having a bad outcome from influenza.

However, it’s important to remember that even perfectly healthy kids can take a turn for the worse with the flu.

“We unfortunately see influenza complications, and even influenza deaths, in healthy children every single year in this country and so it is an important vaccine for all children regardless of their health status,” said Dr. Giuliano.

Children under six months old are too young to be vaccinated, so Dr. Giuliano reminds parents that the best way to protect young infants is to make sure people around them have their flu shots.