MILWAUKEE (9/28/2012) - Children's Hospital of Wisconsin urges parents to make sure their families receive a yearly flu vaccine. An annual influenza vaccine, given in the fall, now is recommended for nearly everyone over the age of 6 months, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The flu is a virus that infects the respiratory system (nose, throat and lungs). It also can lead to pneumonia and even death. Pregnant women, young infants and anyone with ongoing medical conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and asthma have a greater risk of becoming seriously ill from the infection.
Flu symptoms often come on quickly. They may include fever, chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache and tiredness. "The flu spreads quickly this time of year because children are close to each other in school, share materials and may not wash their hands as often as they should," said Lyn Ranta, MD, director of Physician Affairs at Children's Hospital, and a leader of the hospital's efforts to raise immunization rates. "Vaccinations and good hand washing are proven ways to protect yourself and everyone around you from the flu."