One hundred sixty children died from the flu during last year's flu season, and today, the American Academy of Pediatrics is sending a message to parents: Get your children immunized against influenza, as soon as the vaccine becomes available.
"The season can last anywhere from October to March, but because of international travel and just because of the influenza virus itself it can strike at any time in the year, so we really want to make sure that once the vaccine is available we get kids in right away," said Dr. Emma Raizman, a pediatrician at Cleveland Clinic Children's.
The AAP recommends all children ages 6 months or older get the flu vaccine as soon as it becomes available.
They can get the Trivalent vaccine that protects against three strains of the virus, or the new Quadrivalent vaccine that protects against four strains.
Despite the added protection, the AAP does not give preference for one type of flu vaccine over another.
"There are two- one that protects against 3 strains and one that protects against four, but the AAP is recommending both of them and they're recommending NOT to wait for one or the other," said Raizman.
The latest research shows people who have egg allergy can receive the inactivated flu vaccine, but the AAP recommends pediatricians talk to an allergist before vaccinating any child with a history of severe reaction.
And kids two years old and up will be happy to hear they may be able to avoid a shot because they're eligible for the nasal mist spray.
"Children that are over 2 and children that don't have any respiratory conditions and don't have a really stuffy nose, so allergies or sick , can also get the nasal," explained Raizman.
To avoid a shortage, The Centers for Disease Control is pledging to produce between 135 and 139 million flu vaccine doses.
To read more about the 2013-2014 flu season, go to CDC.gov.
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