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Vicki Barag, nurse and Director of Clinic Services at Allegro Pediatrics, reviews the importance of the flu vaccine and answers common questions about the flu.

Why is the flu vaccine especially important this year?

The best thing we can do to protect ourselves and our community from preventable diseases is to receive vaccines. It is important to protect yourself and your loved ones from Influenza (flu) every year by getting a flu shot. Everyone 6 months of age and older is eligible to receive the flu vaccine.

It is important to remember that the flu shot is an annual vaccine. Everyone should be vaccinated each year because protection from the flu shot declines over time and the flu virus in circulation can change. The flu vaccine is updated every year in order to match the virus predicted to circulate that year.

Getting vaccinated against flu not only protects you but those around you including vulnerable populations like the sick and elderly.

Where can my child get a flu shot?

Your child can receive their flu shot at any scheduled appointment in clinic. We also offer flu shot only appointments for current Allegro patients on Wednesday afternoons at our Administration building. If Allegro's availability doesn't work for your family, please visit to find a convenient time and location for your child to receive their flu shot.

Does my child need one dose of the flu vaccine or two?

The flu vaccine is only available to patients 6 months and older. Depending on their age, some children may need 2 doses of the flu vaccine for best protection.

Children 9 years and older: 1 dose

Children 6 months through 8 years: Some may need 2 doses for best protection

  • Children 6 months through 8 years receiving a flu vaccine for the first time, and those who have only previously received one dose of flu vaccine, should receive two doses. The second dose should be given at least 4 weeks after their first dose. Flu vaccine is available in clinic at scheduled Well Child Check-ups and follow-up visits.
  • For children who require 2 doses, both doses should be administered even if the child turns age 9 years between dose 1 and dose 2.
  • If your child previously received two doses of flu vaccine (at any time), they only need one dose of flu vaccine this season.

What do I do if I suspect the flu?

Schedule a sick visit for your child to be tested for the flu. Symptoms you may notice include a sudden onset of symptoms, high fever, body aches, chills, headache, cough, runny nose, and sore throat. Your child may feel very sick for the first 3-4 days – this is common. It may take 3-4 days for a fever to subside, 1-2 weeks for congestion or runny nose to stop, and up to 3 weeks for a cough to diminish. If your child is uncomfortable from a fever or body aches, you may give ibuprofen (if your child is over 6 months of age) or acetaminophen as needed. Antibiotics are not helpful for the flu. Most children get better with time, rest, and hydration.

If your child develops a complication of the flu or has a high-risk factor (children under age 5 and children with chronic medical conditions such as asthma or diabetes), please call your child's doctor.

Call your child’s doctor if your child has:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Retractions (pulling in between the ribs) occur
  • Dehydration
  • Earache or sinus pain
  • Fever lasting longer than 3 days or goes above 104° F (40.° C)
  • Cough lasting more than 3 weeks
  • You think your child needs to be seen
  • Your child becomes worse

Visit the symptom checker on our website for homecare advice or call your child’s clinic to talk to a nurse about your child’s symptoms.

If my child develops the flu, what is the recommendation for quarantine to help prevent circulation?

If your child develops the flu or symptoms of the flu, they should stay home from school or childcare for at least 24 hours after their fever is gone without the use of fever-reducing medications. Limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.

How can I prevent the spread of flu?

The single best way to prevent the flu is by getting the vaccine every flu season. Getting the flu vaccine helps keep you from getting sick, and can also reduce symptoms if you get the flu. The flu shot prevents millions of people from getting the flu each year and reduces the risk of hospitalizations related to the flu virus.

Some other ways you can help prevent the spread of flu and other viruses include:

  • Washing your and your child’s hands frequently with soap and warm water. Use alcohol-based hand cleansers when soap and water are not available
  • Cover noses and mouths when coughing or sneezing. To cover your nose and mouth use tissue or catch your coughs and sneezes in your elbow
  • Disinfect and clean surfaces often
  • Stay home if you or child are experiencing any symptoms of illness

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