Who Should Get the Flu Vaccine?
The flu vaccine is a good idea for all families. It does not cause the flu and it helps keep kids and parents from getting sick. Getting the flu is worse than having a cold and can make a person sick for a week or more.
Everyone 6 months of age and older should get vaccinated before the start of each flu season, with very few exceptions. Some people are more likely to get health problems from the flu, such as the elderly, pregnant women, infants, and people with medical conditions like asthma or diabetes. Getting a flu vaccine is especially important for them and for those who live with them.
Babies younger than 6 months can't get the vaccine. But they will be protected if their parents, other caregivers, and older kids in the household get it. This is important because infants who get the flu are more likely to have serious problems than older kids.
Some things might prevent a person from getting the flu vaccine. Talk to your doctor to see if the vaccine is still recommended if your child:
Two types of flu vaccine are available:
- the flu shot, which is injected with a needle
- the nasal spray, a mist that gets sprayed into the nostrils
The nasal spray is only for healthy people ages 2–49. People with weak immune systems or some health conditions (such as asthma) and pregnant women should not get the nasal spray vaccine. It should also be avoided in kids who take aspirin regularly, who have a cochlear implant, or who have recently taken antiviral medicine for the flu.
In the past, people with an egg allergy had to check with their doctor about whether the flu vaccine was OK for them because it's grown inside eggs. But health experts now say that the amount of egg protein in the vaccine is so tiny that it's safe even for kids with a severe egg allergy. People with egg allergies can now get the flu vaccine just like everyone else. They do not need to take any extra precautions.
Understanding the Flu Vaccine
Get the facts about the flu vaccine and how it can help keep your family healthy each year