Protect Your Children from the Flu

Mandy Scherer
Public Relations Coordinator
Phone: (901) 227-3527
Pager: (901) 227-7243 #3176
Ayoka Pond
Public Relations Manager
Phone: 901-227-3503
Cell: 901-581-5637

When there is a particularly virulent strain of the flu circulating, as many as 70,000 Americans could die from flu or flu-related complications. As a parent or caregiver, there are some simple things you can do to help prevent your children from contracting the flu.

A flu shot is a good start. It can help protect children against the illness, which is especially dangerous to those who already have weakened immune systems. Babies between 6 and 23 months old are among those at a higher risk for flu complications. Those who have diabetes, immunosuppression disorders, severe forms of anemia and chronic diseases of the heart, kidneys or lungs – such as asthma – are at a higher risk, as well.

People in close contact with high-risk groups and children and teenagers taking aspirin for long periods also are urged to get the vaccine. However, the flu shot is not recommended for children who are sick with fever, have a history of Guillain-Barre syndrome or an egg or mercury allergy. Children who have had a severe reaction to a flu shot in the past should not get the vaccine either, unless they’ve had an allergy evaluation or desensitization.

It takes about two weeks after being vaccinated to develop immunity to the flu, so the ideal time to get the vaccine is between late October and early November before peak flu season, which is usually between December and March. Pediatrician offices and urgent care centers, such as Baptist Minor Medical Centers, usually offer flu shots for a minimal fee.

The CDC also recommends parents and caregivers do the following to help prevent the flu:

  • Make hand-washing supplies available and easily accessible to children and caregivers (especially in child care and diaper-changing areas).
  • Frequently clean surfaces, toys and shared items (at least daily and when visibly soiled).
  • Encourage children and caregivers to cover their noses and mouths with a tissue when they cough or sneeze. They also should dispose of the tissue immediately and wash their hands afterward
  • Be alert to symptoms of the flu or other respiratory illnesses in children, and keep sick children away from other children or send them home if in a child care setting.
  • Keep children home if they’re sick. Parents and caregivers should follow this advice, as well, if they’re sick.

For more information on influenza or flu shots, visit


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