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SELF Magazine: Health Experts Urge Everyone—Especially Kids—To Get Their Flu Shot by Halloween

By Korin Miller

It's the first week of September, so most parents are probably more preoccupied with stocking up on school supplies than prepping for flu season (understandably). But health experts want to remind you that the flu shot should probably be on your to-do list as well.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released a policy statement on Monday that urged parents to get children vaccinated against the flu as soon as the vaccine becomes available—and definitely by the end of October. Additionally, the AAP recommends parents choose the flu shot over the nasal spray whenever possible. In an August 30 update, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) echoed many of these recommendations for adults. But children (especially those below the age of 5) are more likely to experience severe complications from the flu, so it's especially important for them to be protected.

"The main reason [for the early deadline] is that we really don’t know when the flu season will be starting," Dr. Gina Posner, M.D., a pediatrician at MemorialCare Orange Coast Medical Center in Fountain Valley, Calif., tells SELF. "We had an early flu season last year, and we want more people covered as early as possible." For most people, it takes about two weeks after getting the vaccine for antibodies that protect you against the flu to build up in your body, the CDC says. So it would make sense to get your shot on the earlier side.

"The AAP has expressed a preference for inactivated influenza vaccine [the shot] as the primary choice for all children because, even though the new formulation of [the nasal spray] looks to be better in some ways, the effectiveness of the [nasal spray] is unknown against A/H1N1 for this upcoming season," statement co-author Mary Anne Jackson, M.D., chief of the pediatric infectious disease section at Children’s Mercy Kansas City and professor of pediatrics at the University of Missouri School of Medicine, tells SELF.

Whether you choose the shot or the spray, the most important thing is to get your vaccine.


Read the full story via SELF Magazine

Learn more about the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Program at Children's Mercy