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Flu Season

When is Flu Season?

It is difficult to predict exactly when the season for influenza is going to start and end.  It can start as early as October and end as late as April or May. There is no reported influenza activity yet in Colorado but that could change soon. 

 

What is influenza?

Influenza is a virus and there are many different strains or types of influenza. The virus typically causes fever, body aches and respiratory symptoms like cough and congestion.  The virus can lead to secondary bacterial infections like pneumonia and ear infections.  While vomiting and diarrhea can be associated with influenza it is often confused with the "stomach flu".  Most vomiting and diarrhea illnesses are not caused by influenza and therefore don't cause high fever, body aches and respiratory symptoms.  They are not truly a "flu" and therefore the flu vaccine does not protect against those intestinal viruses.  

 

Illness prevention

There are things that you can do for your child to help their immune system through the cold and flu season. 

  • Balanced diet and sleep help our immune system stay at its best
  • Probiotics: There are some studies that suggest that a daily probiotic can decrease viral illnesses by up to 40% over the course of a school year.
  1. For Infants <3 months old.  We recommend lactobacillus reuteri (also helpful with colic) which can be found in the Gerber Soothe colic drops. Give 5 drops by mouth/day
  2. For infants 3-12 months. There are many good probiotic choices. We like Jarrow: Baby's jarro-dophilus, 1/4 tsp/day of the powder mixed into a syringe full of breast milk or formula or mixed into a bite of food (if they are taking solids)
  3. For children 1 year and older: You can use 1/2 tsp of the Jarrow: Baby's jarro-dophilus or 1-2 capsules of the Jarrow Adult Original capsule (they can be swallowed or opened and the powder mixed into food) 
  • Vitamin D can help support a healthy immune system
    • Infants can take 400 IU of vitamin D if they are breast fed. Formula fed infants do not need extra vitamin D
    • Children above a year old can take 400-800 IU of vitamin D. Cow's milk and milk substitutes have about 200 IU of vitamin D in 16 oz.
  • Elderberry extract has been shown to help shorten an influenza illness.  At the start of a viral illness, elderberry extract could be started for children 12 months or older
    • Elderberry syrup/Eldertussin by Herbs for Kids can help support the immune system and may help reduce cough. 

Flu Vaccines

H.I.P will have two types of flu vaccine available.  Flu Mist (nasal spray) and injectable flu vaccines.  All of our flu vaccine is preservative (mercury) free. 

  • Injectable flu vaccine: this form of flu vaccine can be used for anyone 6-months-olds or older.  This version is known as a killed virus vaccine
    • Note: Two doses of flu vaccine, at least one month apart, are recommended for kids under 8 years old who are receiving the flu vaccine for the first time or who have never had two doses in one flu season.  

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends flu vaccine for all children older than 6 months old.  Our strongest recommendation is for children between 6-months-old and 3-years-old or any child above 6-months-old who has asthma or other chronic medical conditions that may make them more susceptible to complications from influenza.  Kids in these groups are more likely to develop complications from the flu. 

 

Families that have infants under 6-months-old can help to protect their infants by getting the flu vaccine for those people around them.

 

Cost: 

Insurance will be billed for patients of H.I.P and there is no co-pay for a flu vaccine visit.  

Flu Vaccine Clinics

Please call front desk to schedule flu shot.

 

 

Contact Us

Please do not submit any Protected Health Information (PHI) through this contact form. All health and immunization forms requests must be submitted through MyChart patient portal, faxed, or dropped off at the clinic. We will not open or download any attachments sent through email in order to protect your child's privacy.