Flu 101

Why does my child need to get a flu shot?

Flu shots reduce the risk of getting the flu. Some children vaccinated against the flu may still get sick but are significantly less ill. This is important because the flu can have severe complications, such as pneumonia or hospitalization.

If your child is younger than 5 years or has certain chronic conditions, they are at an even higher risk of severe complications from the flu.

My child got a flu shot last year. Do they really need one this year?

Flu viruses change, so the vaccine gets updated to keep up with the viruses that may be most common during the upcoming flu season. Even if your child got a flu vaccine last year, their immune protection from it decreases over time. Getting a flu shot every year is their best protection.

Isn’t the flu the same thing as a cold?

Colds are usually milder than flu. People with colds are more likely to have a runny or stuffy nose. Colds generally do not result in serious health problems.

The flu, however, can cause serious health problems like pneumonia or hospitalizations. The flu can cause serious health problems like difficulty breathing or dehydration, sometimes requiring a stay in the hospital or even the intensive care unit. In rare cases, the flu can lead to death.

Can’t you get the flu from the flu shot?

No, the flu vaccine can’t give your child the flu. A flu vaccine may cause side effects that feel like the flu, but they are mild and short-lasting. These are signs that their immune system is working and building protection against the flu.

Does my child need a flu vaccine if they already got a COVID-19 vaccine?

Yes, they do! A COVID-19 vaccine does NOT protect your child from the viruses that cause the flu. Many children at higher risk from COVID-19 are also at higher risk of flu. It is safe for your child to receive the flu vaccine and COVID-19 vaccine at the same time.

Flu vaccination decreases your child’s risk of getting flu and its potentially serious complications, which can result in hospitalization and even death.