All people 6 months and older should get the flu vaccine each year. The best choice for flu vaccine during the 2018–2019 flu season is the flu shot.
The nasal spray flu vaccine was not available last flu season. Studies have had mixed results, but there has been concern that the nasal spray flu vaccine was not as protective as the flu shot. There have not been any safety concerns with the nasal spray vaccine.
The nasal spray vaccine is available again this season, but it is only recommended for use with children over 2 who wouldn't otherwise get the vaccine. (For example, a child with an extreme needle phobia who refuses the shot.)
Flu vaccine does not cause the flu. For the best protection, get the flu vaccine for you and your family as soon as it's available. Aim for being vaccinated by the end of October.
- See your child's doctor or nurse to get the flu vaccine.
- If you need help finding flu vaccine, call the Family Health Hotline (English and Spanish) at 800-322-2588.
2018–2019 seasonal flu vaccine
Use the statements below to know how many doses of flu vaccine your child needs this year. Ask your child’s healthcare provider if you have any questions.
- Babies younger than 6 months of age are too young to get flu vaccine.
- Children 6 months through age 8 getting flu vaccine for the first time need to receive 2 doses this flu season. Get the first dose as soon as the vaccine is available. The second dose should be given 4 weeks after the first dose.
- Children 6 months through age 8 who have received only 1 dose of flu vaccine in the past need 2 doses this flu season. Get the first dose as soon as the vaccine is available. The second dose should be given 4 weeks after the first dose.
- Children 6 months through age 8 who received 2 or more doses of flu vaccine in the past only need 1 dose this flu season.
- Children age 9 and older only need 1 dose of flu vaccine this season.
For Current Patients and Families
Learn More About Flu Vaccinations
Prevent the Spread of Flu
- Wash your own and your child’s hands often with soap and warm water. Children should sing their ABCs twice in a row while washing their hands to ensure the proper length of time. Use alcohol-based hand cleansers when soap and water are not available.
- Avoid people who are sick.
- People with the flu should stay home from work or school. They should stay home while they are sick and for at least one day after they no longer have a fever, without the use of fever-reducing medicines.
- Cover noses and mouths when coughing or sneezing: use tissue or the crook of your elbow when you cough or sneeze and throw the tissue away in a covered trash bin.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands. Remind children to keep their hands away from their face to avoid touching their eyes, nose or mouth.
- Clean surfaces often, including toys, doorknobs, phone receivers, keyboards and tables.
- Avoid sharing personal items such as forks, spoons, toothbrushes and towels.
- The single best way to prevent the flu is to get the vaccine every flu season.
Information updated: September 6, 2018