For the 2020–2021 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.
What Are the Signs of the Flu?
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.
But the flu, also called influenza (say: in-floo-EN-zuh), can make 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.
Who Should Get a Flu Vaccine?
Health experts recommend the flu vaccine for all people age 6 months and older.
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.
One Dose or Two?
Here's what the vaccine means for most kids:
Kids older than 9 need only 1 dose.
Are you younger than 9?
You will need 2 doses if this is your first time getting the vaccine, or if you've
only had 1 dose in the past.You'll get the first dose and then come back at least
a month later to get the second one.
You will need only 1 dose if you've gotten the flu vaccine at least twice in the
past. (Your parents and doctor can look this up.)
If you've gotten the flu vaccine at least twice in the past, you will only need
to get 1 dose. (Your parents and doctor can look this up.)
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:
Hold a parent's hand.
Make your arm go loose like cooked spaghetti before the shot goes in.
Cough as you're getting the shot. (Some kids say they don't feel the pinch when
they do this.)
When Do You Get the Flu Vaccine?
Flu vaccines are usually given in the fall, before flu season starts. It's best
to get it before the end of October. Flu season — the months of the year when
a lot of people have the flu and it's easy to catch it — usually starts in October
and ends in May.
New Year, New Vaccine
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 to protect
us from the most likely viruses.
After the Vaccine
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.
After 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!