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Flu Vaccine for Preteens and Teens

The Vaccine: Flu

Everyone 6 months of age and older should get a flu vaccine every year. It is especially important for kids with asthma or diabetes to get vaccinated to help decrease their risk of serious complications from the flu. Preteens and teens should get a flu vaccine in the fall, or as soon as it is available each year. To learn about who should and should not get this vaccine, when they should be vaccinated, and the risks and benefits of this vaccine, consult the two flu vaccine information statements.

There are two types of vaccines:

  • The "flu shot" — an inactivated vaccine (containing killed virus) that is given as a shot, usually in the arm. The flu shot is approved for use in people older than 6 months, including healthy people and people with chronic medical conditions.
  • The nasal-spray flu vaccine —a vaccine made with live, weakened flu viruses that do not cause the flu (sometimes called LAIV for "live attenuated influenza vaccine" or FluMist®). LAIV (FluMist®) is approved for use in healthy* people 2-49 years of age who are not pregnant.

    *These one-page CDC vaccine information statements (VIS) explain who should or should not get the vaccine, and its common side effects.

If you have an infant or younger children in your household, you'll want to learn why you and your teen should get vaccinated to protect them. See Children, the Flu, and the Flu Vaccine.

See also:

The Disease: Influenza

Influenza, or flu as it is commonly known, is a contagious infection of the nose, throat and lungs that is caused by a virus. Most people sick with the flu will recover in a few days to less than 2 weeks; however, flu is unpredictable. Pneumonia, bronchitis, and sinus and ear infections are three examples of complications from flu. Certain people are at greater risk for serious complications if they get the flu. Kids with chronic health problems like asthma and diabetes are at especially high risk of developing serious flu complications. To learn more about the flu and get answers to all your questions, visit the CDC Flu web site.

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