About the Flu and Flu Vaccine

What is the basic information about flu and flu season?

Mom reading thermometer with hand on child's forehead

Influenza viruses cause flu. The viruses spread from person to person when infected people cough, sneeze or touch objects. Flu can be mild or severe and can even cause death. Older people, children under 5 (especially children under 2), pregnant women and people with certain health conditions are at a higher risk for serious complications from the flu.

Flu season usually begins in December and lasts until April or May in the U.S.

During the 2019–2020 flu season, at least 188 children died from flu and flu-associated illness in the U.S. Most of these children had not received a flu vaccination. Thousands more children were hospitalized.

There was much less flu illness in the 2020-2021 season because people were staying home, social distancing, wearing masks and washing hands to avoid getting COVID-19. These actions also help people prevent getting the flu.

What is the best way to prevent the flu?

Flu vaccination is the best way to prevent flu infection. It’s especially important to get the flu vaccine this season so the healthcare system isn’t overloaded if there are more surges of COVID-19. It's best to get the flu vaccine by October, but it’s never too late to get the vaccine at any point in the season.

See Flu Vaccination for Seattle Children’s Patients and Families to learn when vaccinations are available at Seattle Children's.

More on the flu:

Reminder: Visitors who are sick or have been exposed to an illness should not come to the hospital.

Information updated: September 17, 2021