published Thursday, January 16th, 2014

Ask a doctor: Should I get flu shots for my preschooler and third-grader?

By Dr. Nita Shumaker

Q: Should I get flu shots for my preschooler and third-grader? A lot of their friends have been sick, but I don’t know if the shots are safe for children.

A: The CDC recommends a yearly flu shot for all children. The influenza infection can be especially severe for children under 2. Certainly children who have chronic medical conditions like asthma, diabetes and disorders of the brain or nervous system are at much higher rush of complications. Each year, 20,000 children under 5 years of age are hospitalized due to flu complications. Last year, more that 165 children died from flu-related complications. “The single best way to protect your children from the flu is to get them vaccinated each year,” says the CDC. Getting the flu shot yearly actually actually builds their immunity to the flu each year it’s given. To read more, visit cdc.gov/flu/protect/children.htm.

— Dr. Nita Shumaker, Galen Medical Group; member, Chattanooga-Hamilton County Medical Society

Readers: To submit a health-related question for a medical doctor, email it to Clint Cooper at ccooper@timesfreepress.com. See this space each week for answers.

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