At what time of year do you think most parents start thinking about flu vaccines in Orange County? Many think little about fevers, runny noses and body chills until December or January, which is often the start of the cold and flu season in California. The problem is that pediatricians can start seeing cases of influenza as early as October. It may also hold off until February or March, but there is no predicting when it will strike your child’s school or your residential neighborhood.

This makes early protection through influenza vaccines essential if you want to spare your child a potentially life-threatening battle with the flu. Even if your child suffers only minor flu symptoms like a sore throat, cough and runny nose, there’s a good chance that the flu will spread through your family, potentially leading to missed days of work or school along with a lot of discomfort. What starts out as a minor case can quickly turn into a serious condition with high fevers, body chills, aching muscles and extreme fatigue.

The Importance of Vaccination

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 20,000 children under the age of five are hospitalized with severe flu symptoms each year. It’s not uncommon for 100 or more children to die from influenza complications in a single season, so it’s important to treat your children with the proper vaccines even if they have never suffered severe symptoms in the past.

There are many doctors trained in pediatrics in Orange County, and they can help you determine the right influenza vaccine for each member of your family. The process is fast and easy, even for the little ones.

Is Your Child at Heightened Risk?

While all children and adults in close contact with children need an influenza vaccination every year, there are some factors that may put your child at a higher risk level:

  • Under the age of five
  • American Indian or Alaskan native
  • Asthma
  • Chronic health conditions

Babies must reach six months of age before flu vaccines are safe, but you can still protect them by making sure that older children and adults surrounding the baby are vaccinated. Some children will require two shots of the flu vaccine, and it can take up to two weeks for the vaccines to provide full protection. This is why it’s important to start thinking about the flu shot in October rather than December.