As a parent, you do everything you can to protect your children. Buckle them up in the car. Watch them closely when they’re in the water. Teach them to look both ways when they cross the street. Warn them not to talk to strangers.

How about making sure they get the flu vaccine? American Academy of Pediatrics and the Center for Disease Control both recommend that everyone 6 months and older get the flu vaccine every year. That includes children from tiny to teen.

Getting the flu vaccine is the best way to prevent flu. For children younger than 5 years of age and those with chronic health conditions, like asthma and diabetes, getting the flu vaccine is especially important to avoid serious flu complications like pneumonia, which can lead to hospitalization and even death. About 20,000 children younger than 5 years old are hospitalized each year from flu complications. Flu can also make some health conditions worse.

Everyone 6 months of age and older should get a yearly flu vaccine. Ample supplies of influenza vaccine are now available. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for your body to develop an immune response. Get vaccinated now so that you will be protected when flu season begins.

There are two kinds of flu vaccine: the flu shot and a flu nasal spray vaccine. These vaccines cannot give you the flu because they are made from killed or weakened influenza viruses. Flu vaccines have an excellent safety record. Hundreds of millions of Americans have safely gotten flu vaccines and most people generally do not experience any side effects after getting a flu vaccine. When side effects do occur, they are generally mild and include redness and soreness at the injection site for the flu shot, and occasionally sore throat, runny nose and rarely fever after the nasal spray vaccine. While these symptoms can be uncomfortable and inconvenient, these symptoms are mild and resolve quickly when compared to a bad case of the flu.

Children should get the flu vaccine as soon as possible to ensure early protection for this flu season. Once vaccinated, the body needs two weeks to produce antibodies for protection against the flu. The vaccine does not provide protection against non-flu viruses that can cause colds and other respiratory illnesses.

Call us today to schedule your child’s flu vaccination.

For more information about the dangers of flu and the benefits of the flu vaccine, talk to your doctor, visit http://www.flu.gov, or call CDC at 1-800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636).