The recommendations for influenza vaccine for 2012-2013 have just been published in the AAP’s journal, Pediatrics.

The CDC makes it easy:

CDC recommends that everyone 6 months of age and older get a seasonal flu vaccine.

By everyone they mean every person.  Simple isn’t it?

Influenza is a dreadful infection.  People think of “the flu” as vomiting and diarrhea.  That is not influenza.  Think of influenza as the worst possible cold you can imagine:  Lots of nasal congestion and frequent coughing, terrible sore throat, severe headache, high fever.  People who vomit do so because they feel so bad to begin with.  And it’s not just one or some of these symptoms.  It’s usually ALL of these symptoms, simultaneously!  The symptoms are severe and persistent — often lasting a full week before things begin to improve.

For children, this typically means two weeks of missing school (one week of being really sick, and another week to recover).  And that is if there are no complications.  Complications occur commonly and include ear infections, sinus infections, pneumonia, and dehydration.  That means a visit to the pediatrician or even the emergency room, often chest X-rays, and usually an antibiotic (or two).

Pediatricians see a lot of influenza every winter, and we see a lot of bad flu.  Like ICU bad.  Children die in the United States from influenza every year.

Prevent influenza in your house and your community by getting a flu vaccine.  It’s easy to do (call our offices to set up a time for one), it’s safe to do (side effects are mild and rare), it hardly hurts at all (the nasal mist involves no injection), and it prevents a very serious and common illness.  And adults should get a flu vaccine for all the same reasons!  Some of our offices are providing flu vaccine for parents, so please ask!

AAP’s policy statement here:

CDC recommendations here: