This flu season (2020–2021) both types seem to work equally 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.
If you get the flu vaccine, it will protect you from getting a bad case of the
flu. You either won't get the flu at all, or if you do get it, your symptoms will
be mild and you should get better pretty quickly.
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.)
Some people are at higher risk of problems if they get the flu, including:
kids younger than age 5
people age 65 and older
people of any age who have long-term health conditions
So if you're a kid who has asthma, diabetes, or another health problem, it's extra
important that you get the flu vaccine. This is true too if you live with someone
who has a health problem, or with a grandparent or a pregnant mom, so you can protect
Flu viruses usually cause the most illness during the colder months of the year.
In the United States, flu season is from October to May. Flu vaccines are usually
given before flu season starts. In the U.S., it's best to get it before the end of
Why Get a Vaccine Every Year?
You might wonder why you have to get a flu vaccine every year. Here's why: There
are lots of different flu viruses. Each year, researchers choose the three or four
viruses most likely to cause trouble. The flu vaccine includes protection against
those three or four, which can vary from year to year.
How Does the Flu Spread?
This virus gets around in little drops that spray out of an infected person's mouth
and nose when they sneeze, cough, or even laugh. You can catch the flu from someone
who has it if you breathe in some of those tiny flu-infected drops.
You also can catch the flu if those drops get on your hands and you touch your
mouth or nose. No wonder people are always saying to cough
or sneeze into your elbow,
not your hands. And while you're at it, wash
your hands well and often!
During the coronavirus
pandemic, experts found that wearing
masks can help prevent the spread of germs. They recommend that everyone wear
a mask when out in public or around people who don't live with them. Wearing masks
can also help stop the spread of flu.
What If You Get the Flu?
If your doctor thinks you might have the flu, they might use a long cotton swab
to get a sample of the gunk in your nose. Testing this sample in a lab can show if
you have the flu.
But usually this isn't needed. Based on your symptoms and how you look, your doctor
can usually tell if you have the flu, especially during times when a lot of flu is
going around your town.
If your doctor says you have the flu, start taking these steps to feel better:
Rest in bed or on the couch.
Drink lots of liquids so you won't get dehydrated.
Take the medicine your mom or dad gives you to ease your fever, pain, and body
Tell your mom or dad if you have trouble breathing, if you feel worse instead
of better, or if you aren't peeing as much as usual. These are signs that you may
need to see the doctor again.
Most of the time, kids with the flu feel better in about a week. Until they do,
they have to stay home from school and take it easy.
We hope you're flu-free this year, but if you do get the flu, now you know what