-- Mary Elizabeth Dallas
MONDAY, Sept. 2 (HealthDay News) -- As soon as the updated
seasonal flu vaccine becomes available, parents should bring
children aged 6 months and older to get vaccinated, according to an
updated policy statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics
The AAP now recommends that kids be protected against the flu
with either the trivalent vaccine, which contains three strains of
the virus, or with a new quadrivalent vaccine that offers
protection against four strains of flu.
The quadrivalent vaccines for this year's flu season contain the
same three strains as the trivalent vaccine, but it may also offer
protection from an additional B strain. The AAP has not said that
one vaccine is better than the other. Instead, the group said to
get either one of these vaccines at the first opportunity.
"Parents should not delay vaccinating their children to obtain a specific vaccine," Dr. Henry Bernstein, a pediatrician and lead author of the flu recommendations, said in an academy news release. "Influenza virus is unpredictable, and what's most important is that people receive the vaccine soon so they will be protected when the virus begins circulating."
The AAP experts said timely vaccination against the flu is
particularly important for children who are most vulnerable to the
flu, such as those with chronic health issues and those of American
Indian or Alaskan Native heritage. In addition, health care
workers, women who are pregnant or breast-feeding, and anyone who
has contact with high-risk children should also be vaccinated as
soon as possible.
People who are allergic to eggs can receive the inactivated flu
vaccine, which is given in one dose. The AAP said, however, that
patients who have had severe reactions should consult an
For children who are hospitalized with the flu or who have
severe flu symptoms, as well as kids with the flu who have chronic
health conditions, the AAP recommended treatment with the antiviral
medications oseltamivir (brand name Tamiflu) or zanamivir
(Relenza). Oseltamivir may be used to treat both full-term and
premature infants with the flu. Chemoprophylaxis, however, should
be used only to treat full-term babies, according to the AAP news
The AAP's updated policy statement was published online Sept. 2
in the journal
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more
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