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Febrile Seizures in Children Following Vaccination with Influenza Vaccines — 2012-2013 Influenza Season

CDC and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) continuously monitor the safety of vaccines recommended for children and adults in the United States. In the 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 influenza seasons, CDC monitoring detected an increased risk for febrile seizures in young children following inactivated influenza vaccine. During the 2012-2013 influenza season, no increased risk was found.  The reason for the difference from the previous two influenza seasons is not known. However, the composition of flu vaccines changed between the 2011-2012 and the 2012-2013 seasons.  Flu vaccine composition often changes year-to-year and CDC and FDA will continue to closely monitor the safety of flu vaccines each season.

Febrile seizures and fever reducing medicines

Febrile seizures can be frightening for a child's caregivers and parents, but nearly all children who have a febrile seizure recover quickly and are healthy afterwards. Febrile seizures can happen with any condition that causes a fever, including common childhood illnesses including respiratory tract illnesses, influenza, ear infections, or roseola. About 2-5% of young children will have at least one febrile seizure, generally associated with an illness. Because vaccines can cause fever, febrile seizures sometimes happen after vaccination, although rarely. Medicines, such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen, can lower fevers in children. However, scientific studies have not shown that these fever-reducing medicines will prevent febrile seizures in children. Aspirin and aspirin-containing products should not be used to reduce fever in children because of the increased risk for Reye syndrome with aspirin ingestion and viral infections.

Getting recommended childhood vaccines during a single healthcare visit has important benefits. On-time vaccinations keep children protected against many infectious diseases, and providing multiple vaccinations in a healthcare visit minimizes the number of healthcare visits that parents, caregivers, and children must make.

For more information, see Questions and Answers on Febrile Seizures Following Childhood Vaccinations, Including Influenza Vaccination.

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