Flu Season: When Should You and Your Baby Get the Flu Shot?

With the approach of cold and flu season, most parents are interested in doing everything they can to keep their family healthy. One of the best ways to prevent the flu from coming to your home is to get a flu shot. However, if you are pregnant or parenting a little one, you might wonder when exactly you should be scheduling your family’s flu shots. It turns out that the answer is sooner than you might think. 

flu shot
Image via Unsplash/ Joshua Rodriguez

When deciding when to vaccinate yourself, consider the fact that it can take up to two weeks from receiving the shot for your body to build up the antibodies needed to fight against the flu. So you should plan to get your shot before flu season officially begins. The CDC recommends that you get the flu shot by the end of October to prevent the flu this season. With this in mind, consider calling your doctor now to schedule your family’s appointments. Between back-to-school physicals and back-to-school sick visits, it will be more challenging to get an appointment the longer you wait. 

If you will be pregnant during this cold and flu season, you might wonder whether it’s a good idea to get the flu shot. The CDC recommends it, especially because it can help protect your baby for the first few months of life when they are too young to get the vaccine themselves. You can get the flu vaccine at any time during your pregnancy. Doing so will not only help your baby develop their own resistance but also help ensure you don’t get the flu and increase the odds your child will get it from you. 

If you’ll be vaccinating your children this year, considering the timing of their vaccination is also important. Children are one of the groups at higher risk of developing complications from the flu and ending up in the hospital, so prevention is extra essential. If your child has had the flu shot before they’ll only need one dose to get protection, if your child is getting the flu vaccine for the first time this season, they’ll need two doses, spaced 28 days apart, for the vaccine to be effective. The CDC recommends that parents schedule their child’s flu shot as early as possible since there will be a month-long gap between shots when they are not protected from the flu. 

While getting the flu shot is important for every member of the family, there are also some other practical flu prevention steps you can take to keep your family safe.

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The CDC recommends:

  • washing your hands with soap and water frequently
  • always covering your mouth or nose when you cough or sneeze
  • avoiding public places with large crowds when there is a flu outbreak. 

{ MORE: When Your Whole Family Has a Stomach Bug: How to Deal When Everyone’s Under the Weather }

This flu season you have all the information you need to keep your family safe. Happy vaccinating mamas! 

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Flu Season: When Should You and Your Baby Get the Flu Shot?

Julia Pelly has a master's degree in public health and works full time in the field of positive youth development. Julia loves hiking after work, swimming during the summer and taking long, cuddly afternoon naps with her two sons on the weekends. Julia lives in North Carolina, with her husband and two young boys. You can find more of her work at JuliaPelly.com ... More

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