Pediatric Influenza Vaccine Recommendations, Children Flu Vaccination Recommendations, Childhood Influenza Prevention, Influenza Risk, Facts About Flu


Flu Facts

What is influenza?

Influenza, also called the flu, is a contagious viral infection of the nose, throat and lungs. Influenza is a serious illness that leads to approximately 20,000 hospitalizations in children younger than 5 years of age and nearly 100 deaths in children of all ages in the US each year. Anyone can get influenza, but infection rates are highest among children (~20-30% annually). Influenza is not the same as the “stomach flu,” which is a viral infection of the stomach and intestines that will typically goes away on its own within a few days.

How is influenza spread?

“Flu Funnies”

Watch funny videos of parents taking extreme measures to protect their children from the flu.


Influenza is spread easily from person to person; when someone who has it sneezes, coughs or even talks, the virus passes into the air and can be breathed in by anyone nearby. People can also become infected by touching something – such as a surface or object – with influenza virus on it and then touching their mouth or nose.

What are the symptoms of influenza?

Influenza can come on very suddenly and usually includes a high fever with fatigue, aches, headache, cough, sore throat, a runny nose, and muscle pain. Children may have additional symptoms such as ear aches, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

How can individuals prevent getting influenza?

Annual vaccination is the best way to prevent influenza. The vaccine is safe and effective, and is given to tens of millions of Americans each year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a three-pronged approach: influenza vaccination, use of antiviral medications for treatment or prevention, and use of other measures to decrease the spread of influenza, including hand hygiene, cough etiquette, and staying home from work and school when ill.

Who should get vaccinated?

CDC now recommends annual influenza vaccination for all people over the age of 6 months.

Learn more about vaccination recommendations here.

When should individuals get vaccinated?

Influenza usually circulates during the fall and winter each year in the United States, but it’s impossible to tell exactly when activity will begin in a given area. Following vaccination, it takes about two weeks to become fully protected against influenza, so it is important to get immunized as soon as vaccine is available in your community. Getting the influenza vaccine anytime throughout the season continues to be beneficial. The immunity from vaccination continues to be protective throughout the fall and winter.

How often do individuals need to be vaccinated?

The influenza vaccine is updated each year to protect against the viruses expected to circulate during the upcoming season. Individuals need to be vaccinated every year because the virus can change and the immune protection from the vaccine can decline over time. Most people only need one vaccine dose, but children younger than 9 years of age may need two doses of influenza vaccine to be fully protected.

Where can individuals get vaccinated?

Parents and caregivers should contact their pediatrician or other healthcare professional to request the influenza vaccine for their children, themselves and other household contacts. Local hospitals, health clinics, retail stores and even some employers also hold vaccination clinics.

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Click here for “Seasonal Flu Facts” in PDF format.


CIIC is made possible by unrestricted educational grants to NFID from Novartis Vaccines and sanofi pasteur.
2009 Childhood Influenza Immunization Coalition  l  Child Influenza and Flu Prevention Glossary l  Sitemap