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Health Information For Kids
Have you had a flu shot? Most kids have and there’s good reason. Like all vaccines (say: VAK-seens), this one can protect you from a pretty awful illness — the flu.
There are two types of flu vaccines:
For the 2019–2020 flu season, both types seem to work well. You should get whatever type of vaccine your doctor suggests. Some kids can’t get the spray mist, such as those with weak immune systems or some medical conditions like asthma.
In most people, the flu causes a fever, body aches, and other cold-like symptoms. A person who has the flu will sleep a lot and feel sick, but will get better in a week.
The problem with the flu, also called influenza (say: in-floo-EN-zuh), is that it makes some people really sick. They may even need to go to the hospital. That’s why a flu vaccine is recommended for just about everyone.
Health experts recommend the flu vaccine for all people age 6 months and older.
Some people have a higher risk of problems from the flu. It’s especially important that these people (and those who live with them) get vaccinated. They include:
Until recently, doctors recommended that kids with an egg allergy not get the flu vaccine because it’s grown inside eggs. But now health experts say that because there’s only a tiny bit of egg protein in the vaccine, it’s safe even for people with a severe egg allergy.
Still, if you have an egg allergy, you should get your vaccine in your doctor’s office, not at a supermarket or drugstore.
Kids older than 9 need only one dose.
Are you younger than 9? You need one dose of the flu vaccine if:
A kid younger than 9 needs two doses if:
Kids who need two doses will get the first one and then come back at least a month later for the second one.
Are you scared of getting a shot? Talk with your mom or dad about it. They’ve most likely had lots of shots in their lives and know exactly how you feel.
Here are three tricks that make shots easier to handle:
If you’re getting the flu vaccine, it’s best to get it in the fall, before “flu season.” Flu season starts in October and usually ends in May. December, January, and February are usually the worst months for flu, when the most people have it and you’re most likely to get it.
Influenza is a virus (say: VY-rus). The flu vaccine helps your body get ready to defend itself against that virus in case it tries to invade your body.
The flu vaccine contains a small amount of the flu viruses. But the flu vaccine won’t give you the flu. The vaccine lets your body get ready to fight off the real flu during flu season.
To be protected against the flu, you have to get the vaccine every year. Unlike some other illnesses, like chickenpox, the flu virus keeps changing. The vaccine needs to change to keep up with the types of flu viruses expected to cause problems that year.
Each year, doctors and scientists who study the flu try to predict which viruses will make people sick during the next flu season. Then they make the vaccine out of a mixture of the most likely viruses.
The flu vaccine is safe and most people have no problems with it. After getting the flu shot, the spot where you got it might feel sore. Some people might feel achy or have a mild fever. The nasal spray might cause mild flu-like symptoms. But those problems are nothing like the flu, which can make you sick for 1 or 2 weeks.
Once you get your flu shot, you can take another important step toward preventing the flu and other winter illnesses: Wash your hands well and often. When you do, you wash away those nasty germs that end up making you sick!
If you’re old enough to read this, you’ve probably had most of your shots. But even bigger kids may need a shot once in a while. Find out more about them in this article for kids.
The flu can make you sick for a week or more. Find out how to get protected from the influenza virus.
Stay home or go to school? That’s what you are probably wondering if you have the flu. Find out more.
The flu is a virus that can make you sick for a week or longer. Find out more in this article for kids.
Follow these tips to help prevent the spread of the flu.
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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