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The flu vaccine - Protection from the flu, peace of mind for you

There are two kinds of flu vaccine: the flu shot and a flu nasal spray vaccine. These vaccines cannot give you the flu because they are made from killed or weakened influenza viruses. Flu vaccines have an excellent safety record. Hundreds of millions of Americans have safely gotten flu vaccines and most people generally do not experience any side effects after getting a flu vaccine. When side effects do occur, they are generally mild and include redness and soreness at the injection site for the flu shot, and occasionally sore throat, runny nose and rarely fever after the nasal spray vaccine. While these symptoms can be uncomfortable and inconvenient, these symptoms are mild and resolve quickly when compared to a bad case of the flu.

"Parents who take their children to get the flu vaccine can rest a little easier knowing they are helping to protect their family against a potentially serious illness," Schuchat said. "And of course, parents should be vaccinated, too."

Children should get the flu vaccine as soon as possible to ensure early protection for this flu season. Most children 6 months through 8 years who get the flu vaccine for the first time will need to get two doses of the vaccine, the second dose (booster dose) 4 weeks after the first. Healthy children ages 2 and older can get the nasal-spray vaccine instead of a flu shot. Talk to your child's doctor or nurse if you're not sure. Once vaccinated, the body needs two weeks to produce antibodies for protection against the flu. The vaccine does not provide protection against non-flu viruses that can cause colds and other respiratory illnesses.

Check with your doctor, pharmacist, or local health clinic about getting you and your child vaccinated from flu.

For more information about the dangers of flu and the benefits of the flu vaccine, talk to your doctor or nurse, visit www.flu.gov.

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