Flu Season is Here!

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.

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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