It’s not too late for a flu shot that can at least ease symptoms

Symptoms of this year’s prevailing flu tend to be more severe and have caused deaths in the U.S., including people of all ages who were otherwise healthy.

“The flu can be deadly, especially for young children, the elderly and pregnant women,” said Marcella D. Perez, M.D., pediatrician, Norton Children’s Medical Group – Poplar Level. “It’s something to take very seriously.”

There’s still time to get the flu shot

While the vaccine doesn’t cover all strains, it can help lessen the severity of your symptoms if you or your child gets the flu.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends all children 6 months and older get a flu shot unless there is a medical reason not to. Children between 6 months and 8 years old who have never gotten a flu shot should get two doses four weeks apart to get the best response. Previously vaccinated children may need only one dose.

A flu shot can still help

Make an appointment at the Norton Children’s Medical Group location most convenient to you.

Getting the flu shot now may help protect you and your family through the remainder of the flu season, which can linger into early spring.

In addition to the vaccine, there are steps you can take to keep your family healthy during cold and flu season.

“The key factor to preventing the spread of flu is good hand washing for everyone in the family, practicing cough and sneeze etiquette, and limiting exposure to others who have the flu,” Dr. Perez said. “And if your child is displaying flu-like symptoms, keep them home from school or day care, where the illness can spread easily.”

Is your child feeling sick?

Knowing the difference between a cold and the flu can help you decide when to visit your pediatrician. When you visit your provider, make sure you’re keeping yourself and others safe from germs.

Signs and symptoms can include:

  • Fever or feeling feverish/chills
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue (tiredness)
  • Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though it is more common in children than adults

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