Fighting the Flu: What Parents Need to Know

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This year’s flu season is hardly something to sneeze at, as severe influenza outbreaks are being reported throughout the country.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the flu season has  resulted in the deaths of 20 children to date.

Currently, 24 states and New York City are showing high levels of flu activity and the city of Boston was forced to declare a public health emergency earlier this week.

This is especially scary news for parents. Children (as well as the elderly) are always the most vulnerable to the flu because they have weaker immune systems than healthy adults.

CDC spokesman Tom Skinner explained that children actually exhale more flu virus than adults when they get sick, and they exhale it longer, making them the great distributors of influenza virus.

[Watch "Massage Techniques for Cold and Flu Relief"]

So what can you do to protect your little ones?  The CDC recommends that everyone over the age of six months old should get a flu vaccine.

Parents should also note that children ages 6 months through 8 years who are receiving a flu shot for the first time need two doses of vaccine, approximately one month apart, for optimal protection.

Here are some other resources to help get your family through flu season:

When to Take a Toddler to the Emergency Room With a Fever

5 Tips For Surviving Cold & Flu Season

The Symptoms of Influenza in Children

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