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About the Flu

Flu Vaccination Information and Other Ways to Prevent Flu

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Flu Vaccinations

All people 6 months and older should get the flu vaccine each year. This year, one version of the seasonal flu vaccine will protect against three flu viruses, including the 2009 H1N1 virus. Another version of the seasonal flu vaccine will protect against those three viruses, as well as an additional influenza B virus. Get either one of the vaccines for your family as soon as you are able.

The vaccine comes in shot and nasal mist form. The shot is called "inactivated" and the nasal mist is called "live, attenuated intranasal (LAIV)." Not all people can choose which form to get, and both forms are not always available at vaccine sites. To learn more about the forms and who can get each kind, read the Vaccine Information Statements from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or ask your child's doctor.

  • 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.

2013–2014 seasonal flu vaccine

It can be confusing to know how many doses of flu vaccine your child needs. Many situations are covered in the statements below, but if your child's situation is different, or if you have any questions, ask your child's healthcare provider.

  • Find the statement below that is true for your child.
    • If your child is younger than 9 and is being vaccinated for flu for the first time in their life, they need to receive 2 doses. The second dose should be given 4 weeks after the first dose.
    • If your child is younger than 9 and they have received 2 or more doses of flu vaccine since July 1, 2010, then only 1 dose of 2013–2014 flu vaccine is needed this year.
    • Babies younger than 6 months of age are too young to get flu vaccine.

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. Alcohol-based hand cleansers also work. Children should sing their ABCs twice in a row while washing their hands to ensure the proper length of time.
  • 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.
  • Remind children to keep their hands away from their face to avoid touching their eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Clean shared spaces often, including phone receivers, keyboards, steering wheels and office equipment.
  • Avoid sharing personal items such as forks, spoons, toothbrushes and towels.
  • The single best way to prevent the flu is to get the vaccine.

Information updated: January 17, 2014

Videos

Flu Vaccinations for Children 3:31Expand
11.24.08

Dr. Danielle Zerr discusses the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) updated flu vaccine recommendations for children, and offers parents advice on ways to protect their children from the flu.

Play Video
Proper Hand Hygiene 3:12Expand
5.8.09

See how to teach your child proper hand hygiene behaviors. 

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Healthlink: Flu ProtectionExpand
10.30.10

Seattle Children’s Dr. Danielle Zerr discusses a new study suggesting there's a way moms can lower influenza's toll on babies — by getting the shots before they're even born.

Play Video