Flu is more dangerous than the common cold for children. Each year flu places a large burden on the health and well-being of children and their families. Annual influenza vaccination is the best method for preventing flu and its potentially severe complications in children.
Influenza is dangerous for children
Children younger than 5 years old–especially those younger than 2– are at high risk of developing serious flu-related complications. A flu vaccine offers the best defense against flu and its potentially serious consequences and can also reduce the spread of flu to others. Getting vaccinated has been shown to reduce flu illnesses, doctor’s visits, missed work and school days, and reduce the risk of flu-related hospitalization and death in children. Information on this page summarizes vaccine recommendations for children. Visit this page to learn more about vaccine benefits.
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.
Other steps to avoid getting the flu.
Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.
Stay home when you are sick. If possible, stay home from work, school, and errands when you are sick. This will help prevent spreading your illness to others.
Cover your mouth and nose. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick. Flu and other serious respiratory illnesses, like respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), whooping cough, and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), are spread by cough, sneezing, or unclean hands.
Clean your hands. Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth.
Practice other good health habits. Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home, work or school, especially when someone is ill. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.