PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – This year’s flu season may seem far away, but doctors say it’s already time to plan on getting your child vaccinated against the illness.
Dr. Michael Koster, a pediatrician at Hasbro Children’s Hospital, said children 6 months and older should receive a flu shot.
“This year, there’s a new flu vaccine that’s going to contain four types of flu,” Koster explained. “There was a new flu strain that circulated last year in Michigan that will be included in the vaccine.”
“Last year was a particularly bad season for influenza,” he added. “There were close to 200 deaths in kids alone that were reported, and of those deaths, 80% of those kids were not vaccinated against the flu.”
A nasal spray version of the flu vaccine is also available this season.
“Last year, the live flu vaccine wasn’t available, and generally it’s still recommended for kids to get the injection vaccine, but for kids who can’t get that vaccine for reasons such as egg allergy or other issues, the live vaccine will be an option again for them this year,” Koster said.
As students head back to school, doctors are also reminding families that the best defense for colds and coughs is proper hand washing.
“Washing hands is hands down the most important thing parents can teach their kids how to do effectively,” Koster said.
The Center for Disease Control’s guide to washing hands includes:
•Wet your hands with clean, running water, turn off the tap, and apply soap
• Rub your hands together with the soap, making sure to lather between your fingers, and under your nails
• Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds
• Rinse your hands well under clean, running water
• Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them
Source: WPRI News