2019-2020 Influenza Season
Influenza (flu) typically begins to circulate in October and can continue through May. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), each year millions of children get sick with seasonal flu, thousands of children are hospitalized, and some children die from flu. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the CDC recommend that everyone 6 months and older get a seasonal flu vaccine every year. Flu vaccines protect against the 4 flu viruses that research suggests will be most common in the US this flu season. It is good to be protected before flu activity begins, so be sure to encourage everyone to get vaccinated before Halloween.
Utilize social media to share messages with families and your community about the importance of getting vaccinated before Halloween. Say BOO to the Flu!
Make the Right Choice: Get a Flu Vaccine
Flu vaccination is the single best way for children, parents, and child care staff to reduce the risk of flu illness and its potentially serious complications. As a trusted partner in caring for children, families look to you for guidance on protecting children. This 1 minute animated video emphasizes the importance of caregivers and children receiving a flu vaccine every year.
Since flu is more likely to cause severe illness in pregnant women, the CDC recommends that pregnant women get a flu shot during any trimester of their pregnancy (if they haven't already gotten vaccinated that influenza season) to protect themselves and their babies. Vaccinating pregnant mothers is critical because they pass antibodies on to their developing babies, which helps protect the new baby from flu for the first few months after birth before babies can get vaccinated themselves.
Antiviral medications are prescription medicines that can be used to treat flu. They can shorten a person's flu illness, make it milder, and may prevent serious complications. Antiviral medications work best when started during the first couple of days after the onset of illness. Antiviral medications are recommended to treat flu in people who are at high risk of serious flu complications, are very sick, or are hospitalized. There are antiviral medications that can be used to treat flu in children of all ages and pregnant women. Families should talk with their child's pediatrician to learn more about antiviral medications.
Review Infection Control Policies and Procedures
Policies in your child care center or home can help limit the spread of influenza. Develop policies on excluding children and caregivers who have respiratory symptoms (cough, runny nose, or sore throat) and fever. To reduce the spread of infectious diseases, implement everyday preventive actions like good respiratory etiquette; hand washing; and cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting.