(RxWiki News) September is the time to get your family ready for this year's flu season. When should children start getting vaccinated against flu?
According to new recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), kids as young as six months should get vaccinated.
Depending on their age and their last flu vaccination, they may need more than one dose.
The most important recommendation is to speak with your pediatrician about how to protect your children from flu.
"Flu vaccine? Ask your doctor!"
Every year, the AAP releases recommendations for vaccinating children for the upcoming flu season. Last year's flu season was very mild compared to normal years.
Children are particularly susceptible to the flu if they're spending time in daycare or preschool. They pick up the flu from their peers more easily than adults, who have built up more resistance.
But it's important to vaccinate everyone in the family, especially if you have a child under six months. They are too young to receive the vaccination, and their immune systems rely on those around them for protection against the flu.
The AAP guidelines, developed in conjunction with the recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), are designed to let doctors know how to administer and handle the flu vaccine.
The recommendations, in general, have not changed significantly since last year.
The one difference is that last year, only one shot was recommended for most children. This year, the guidelines advise doctors to administer two doses in some cases, depending on the child's age and vaccination history.
The variation applies mostly to children aged six months to eight years. All children over nine years old only need one dose.
There are two options for getting the vaccine. One is the traditional flu shot, with three dead viruses that will create immunity to the most common strains of flu. The other option is a nasal spray with active strains of flu.
Getting vaccinated early is especially important for children with health complications like asthma and diabetes. Children whose immune systems are already weak from fighting off diseases that affect their body's defenses from sickness are also considered to be a high risk group for complications from flu.
The AAP also mentions the importance of vaccinating people who work with children, all healthcare personnel, and pregnant and breastfeeding mothers.
The recommendations were released in September 2012.