Parents: Help Children Fight Flu

grizzly bear in background with text: A flu vaccine can take flu from wild to mild

Influenza (flu) is a contagious respiratory disease caused by influenza viruses. Flu can be more dangerous than the common cold for children. Each year, flu places a large burden on the health and well-being of children and their families. Annual flu vaccination offers the best protection against flu and its potentially serious complications in children. Parents can help children fight flu by getting themselves and their children vaccinated against flu each year.

Children younger than 5 years old—especially those younger than 2—and children of any age with certain chronic health conditions, like asthma and diabetes, are at higher risk of developing potentially serious flu complications. Because these groups of children are at higher risk, it is especially important that they get a seasonal flu vaccine to help prevent flu, and to reduce their risk of being hospitalized or dying from flu if they do get sick.

While not at higher risk, healthy children 5 years and older can also get very sick from flu, in addition to spreading flu to vulnerable family members like infants younger than 6 months and adults who are 65 years and older or people of any age who have certain chronic health conditions.  It’s important to vaccinate everyone 6 months and older against flu each year to help protect those most at risk.

Flu Vaccines are Important for Children
Children playing in leaves outside during Fall.

Flu illness can be more dangerous than the common cold for children. A flu vaccine offers the best defense against flu and its potentially serious complications and can also help reduce the spread of flu to others.

Children at Higher Risk
girl with a Band-Aid on arm

Children younger than 5 years old–especially those younger than 2–and children of any age with certain chronic health conditions, are at higher risk of developing potentially serious flu-related complications.

Caregivers of Young Children
Caregiver helping a toddler run towards a soccer ball.

Children 6 months and older and their caregivers should get vaccinated against flu each year and there are other preventive actions that everyone can take to help stop the spread of flu.

Children and Flu Antiviral Drugs
Doctor holding a prescription pad.

While getting a flu vaccine each year is the first and most important action in protecting against flu, there also are drugs that can treat flu illness. These flu antiviral drugs are an important treatment option, including for children with suspected or confirmed flu.

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