We blinked and the first official day of Fall (September 22nd) has passed. While October starts to welcome one of the most wonderful times of the year, featuring football Sundays, sweater weather and new crockpot recipes, it also means that the dreaded cold and flu season is quickly approaching.
Our Summer Health experts have outlined what to look out for this year, and included recommendations around how to keep your family healthy heading into the holidays.
When does flu season start?
Cold and flu season can start as early as October, typically peaks between December and February and can last as long as May 2023. Trends can vary by geographic location, which is why we recommend referencing the CDC Weekly U.S. Influenza Surveillance Report to track activity in your area.
What can we expect to be different this flu season?
Although flu-cases are down from the last two years of data, our experts warn that the relaxation of COVID-19 mitigation measures like masking, social distancing, and remote working and schooling may trigger influenza to spread as aggressively and rapidly as it did pre-pandemic.
Vaccine recommendations for children
According to The American Academy of Pediatrics, many experts, including Summer Health clinicians, have called on parents and caregivers to seek flu vaccines not only for themselves, but also for their kids ages 6 months and older as soon as they are available in the fall. You can easily schedule flu shots through Walgreens or CVS starting as early as today, or get in touch with your local pediatrician.
Although the flu isn’t completely preventable with the vaccine, it is controllable. According to the CDC, vaccines remain the best way to prevent severe illness and keep kids in classrooms as winter approaches.
Do you have questions about vaccines? Summer Health can connect you to doctors in 15 minutes or less to answer your questions.
How many vaccine doses does my child need?
According to the latest AAP recommendation, children 6 months to 8 years of age who are receiving an influenza vaccine for the first time or who received only 1 dose before July 1, 2022, or whose vaccination status is unknown should receive 2 doses of influenza vaccine at least 4 weeks apart.
All other children should receive 1 dose this flu season.
How else can I prevent my family from getting sick?
Aside from taking care of yourself through adequate sleep, daily movement, and healthy nutrition choices, continued rigorous hygiene practices are the best way to stay germ-free. We’ve outlined some easy reminders below!
What symptoms should I be looking for?
If your little one has the flu, they may have chills, vomiting and diarrhea in addition to common cold symptoms. Some other symptoms to keep an eye out for are fatigue, trouble breathing and signs of dehydration (aka: less diapers).
It can be difficult to know if your child has the flu versus a common cold, covid-19 or something else, so we recommend monitoring symptoms and seeing a doctor if a fever persists over 3 days. John Hopkins Medicine has a great Influenza 101 in Children resource to reference as well.
Is your child showing flu or cold symptoms? Summer Health can connect you to pediatricians in 15 minutes or less to answer your questions.
How do I know it’s not COVID?
Some helpful resources from the CDC are:
How Summer Health can help this flu season
As always, the Summer Health team is here to help. Our mission is to radically simplify access to care, and our pediatricians are here for any and all of your questions this flu season. We can provide you with expert medical advice at the first onset of your children’s symptoms, refer you to in-person care where needed, and where clinically appropriate, provide a prescription or lab test to further care.
You can get started today at www.summerhealth.com, for just $5 for your first month.
Medically Reviewed By
Dr. Ali Alhassani
Harvard Medical School
Boston’s Children’s Hospital
September 30, 2022