All family members and loved ones 6 months old and older should get the flu vaccine. The flu can cause serious health problems, even in healthy children. Some people are more likely to develop these serious health problems than the rest of us. That’s why it’s very important that they get a flu vaccine. Those people include:
• pregnant women
• senior citizens
• people with disabilities
• people with health problems such as asthma or autoimmune diseases
Babies younger than 6 months old can’t get a flu vaccine but can get very sick if they get the flu. Anyone who spends time around them can protect babies by getting a flu vaccine.
Who should not get vaccinated?
Different flu vaccines are recommended for different groups of people. Your primary care provider can tell you which vaccine is best for you and your child. For more information, you can visit cdc.gov.
How should I get the vaccine?
There are two types of flu vaccines: the shot and a nasal spray.
The shot is made with a killed (inactivated) flu virus. Anyone 6 months old and older and anyone with a chronic health problem can get the shot.
The nasal spray is made with a weak form of a live flu virus and is given to you with a mist sprayed into your nose. People between the ages of 2 and 49 can get the nasal spray. But pregnant women should only get the flu shot.
When should I get the vaccine?
You can get the flu as early as October. That’s why it’s best to get a flu vaccine in the fall. Flu season peaks in January or February, but you can still get the flu as late as May. It usually takes two weeks after getting a vaccine for your body to be fully protected against the flu.
Can I get the flu from the vaccine?
You can’t get the flu from the flu shot or the nasal spray. You may have some mild side effects, such as soreness where you got a flu shot, headache or fever. For more information about side effects and vaccine safety, visit cdc.gov.
Where can I get the vaccine?
Contact your child’s pediatrician to make an appointment. Vaccines are also offered at health clinics, health departments, pharmacies and college health centers.
If you would like information on the flu vaccine mailed or emailed to you, contact the Family Resource Center at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. The Family Resource Center is 100-percent funded by generous donations to the St. Louis Children's Hospital Foundation.
For over 130 years, Children's Hospital and its Washington University School of Medicine physician partners have remained a resource for pediatric health and wellness for the St. Louis region and beyond.
They provide care in every pediatric specialty — from fetal care through adolescence. In 2016, U.S. News & World Report ranked St. Louis Children's Hospital in all 10 specialties, the only children's hospital in Missouri to earn this distinction. Their Level One Pediatric Trauma Center is nationally verified by the American College of Surgeons (ACS), the highest national recognition possible.
Call 314-454-KIDS (5437) to find a pediatrician or pediatric specialist, or to register for a class or event. Learn more at StLouisChildrens.org, member BJC Healthcare.
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