Children younger than 5 years of age –especially those younger than 2 years old– are at high risk of serious flu-related complications. A flu vaccine offers the best defense against getting flu and spreading it to others. Getting vaccinated can reduce flu illnesses, doctor’s visits, missed work and school days, and prevent flu-related hospitalizations and deaths in children. Information on this page summarizes vaccine recommendations for children. Visit this page to learn more about vaccine benefits.
Influenza is dangerous for children
Flu illness is more dangerous than the common cold for children. Each year, millions of children get sick with seasonal flu; thousands of children are hospitalized and some children die from flu. Children commonly need medical care because of flu, especially children younger than 5 years old who become sick with flu.
Complications from flu among children in this age group can include:
Pneumonia: an illness where the lungs get infected and inflamed
Dehydration: when a child’s body loses too much water and salts, often because fluid losses are greater than from fluid intake)
Worsening of long-term medical problems like heart disease or asthma
Brain dysfunction such as encephalopathy
Sinus problems and ear infections
In rare cases, flu complications can lead to death.
Flu seasons vary in severity, however every year children are at risk
CDC estimates that since 2010, flu-related hospitalizations among children younger than 5 years ranged from 7,000 to 26,000 in the United States.
While relatively rare, some children die from flu each year. Since 2004-2005, flu-related deaths in children reported to CDC during regular flu seasons have ranged from 37 deaths to 181 deaths. Information about pediatric deaths since the 2004-2005 flu season is available in the interactive pediatric death web application.
Source Credit: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/children.htm