Protect Your Children This Flu Season: Get A Flu Shot!

From the Harnett County Department of Public Health

Children are more likely than adults to get sick from flu. Influenza (“the flu”) is more dangerous than the common cold for children, especially those younger than 5 years, are at higher risk for serious flu-related complications. Children are likely to be exposed to flu in a classroom or daycare setting, and millions of children get sick with flu every season.

It’s important to make sure that your child is protected this flu season, and the first and most important step is ensuring everyone in your family aged 6 months and older gets an annual flu vaccine. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC ) recommends that everyone 6 months of age and older get a seasonal flu vaccine, this season with an injectable flu vaccine (flu shot). Vaccination is the first and most important step in protecting your family against flu according to public health officials with the Harnett County Health Department.

Flu vaccination can prevent illness, hospitalization and deaths in children. The best way to protect your child this flu season is by making sure he or she receives their annual flu shot. It’s not too late for you and your family to get your annual flu shots. Flu may be more serious than the common cold for children. Flu symptoms can be severe and flu illness can lead to serious complications that require hospitalization.

Some children are at especially high risk of serious flu-related complications: Children younger than 6 months old are too young to be vaccinated. The best way to protect an infant from flu is for the expecting mom to get vaccinated during her pregnancy and to make sure others around them are vaccinated. This includes parents, grandparents, siblings and caregivers.

Children aged 6 months up to their fifth birthday — even those that are healthy — are at high risk of developing serious flu complications simply because of their age. Children aged 6 months through 18 years with certain long-term health problems, such as asthma, diabetes, or neurological and neurodevelopmental conditions also are at high risk for complications from flu if they get sick because of their medical situation.

Children’s flu vaccines are available at the Harnett County Health Department. The Health Department is providing children’s flu shots-only, each Monday through Friday from 8 to 11:30 a.m. and 1 to 4:30 p.m. through walk-in clinics. Residents are encouraged to bring all insurance information including Medicaid cards.

While seasonal influenza outbreaks can happen as early as October, most of the time influenza activity peaks between December and February.

For more information, call the Harnett County Health Department at (910) 893-7550 or log onto the Health Department’s website at www.harnett. org/health.

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