You may believe it's early, but now is time to be thinking about flu season. Every child over 6 months of age should be immunized against flu. Flu is a serious illnesses with more complications seen in children under the age of 5 years as well as in children who have any underlying illness like diabetes, heart disease or asthma. The CDC recommends that infants and children under the age of 9 who have never received flu vaccine or who have not received 2 doses of vaccine during the 2009 season or later, receive two doses of the vaccine this season. The vaccine should be separated by a minimum of 4 weeks. Why? The first dose of vaccine primes the immune system while the second dose provides protection. If you child is over 2, there is the option of a live flu vaccine called flu mist. This is a needle free vaccine, given to healthy children as a simple nasal spray. It provides an excellent immune response and no tears! The symptoms of flu typically come on quickly and include fever, cough, sore throat, congestion and body aches. Flu does not feel like a cold. You feel like you have been hit by a truck and the flu lasts anywhere from 3 - 10 days. Young children tend to spread the flu unknowingly via their coughs and hands, and then pass the flu on to their parents. The best protection is to get a flu vaccine and to continue with good hand washing and cough hygiene throughout the flu season. It is time to run not walk and get your vaccine.
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