With flu season in full swing, it is important to know what the flu is, why it is dangerous and how getting a flu shot can protect you and your family. All Head Start and Early Head Start of Beaver and Fayette Counties, programs of the Private Industry Council of Westmoreland/Fayette, Inc., require that all enrolled children receive a flu vaccination (unless parent or child’s doctor submit and exemption form). This is done to not only protect the child but to protect the family and those around you as well.
How serious is flu?
While flu illness can vary from mild to severe, children often need medical care because of flu. Children younger than 5 years and children of any age with certain long-term health problems are at high risk of flu complications like pneumonia, bronchitis, sinus and ear infections. Flu can be worse for people with asthma and diabetes.
What are flu symptoms?
Even healthy children can get very sick from flu. If your child is experiencing the following emergency warning signs, you should go to the emergency room:
- Bluish lips or face
- Ribs pulling in with each breath
- Chest pain
- Severe muscle pain (child refuses to walk)
- Dehydration (no urine for 8 hours, dry mouth, no tears when crying)
- Not alert or interacting when awake
- Fever above 104°F
- In children less than 12 weeks, any fever
- Worsening of chronic medical conditions
Why should I get the flu shot for my family and myself?
- Flu vaccines can prevent death from flu.
- Infants younger than 6 months are at high risk for serious flu complications, but are too young to get a flu vaccine. The infant is more protected against the flu virus when their family members are vaccinated.
- Flu vaccination may make your illness milder if you do get sick.
- Getting yourself and your child vaccinated can protect others who may be more vulnerable to serious flu illness, like babies and young children, older people, and people with certain long-term health problems.
- Pregnant women should get a flu vaccine to protect themselves and their baby from flu. Research shows that flu vaccination protects the baby from flu for several months after birth.
For more information about the flu and flu vaccines, please visit: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/index.htm