When Should Parents Get The Flu Shot? The CDC Has New Guidelines

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Flu season is never a fun time for parents and their children. The flu can keep children out of school for weeks and when the germs spread to their home, they can put parents out of commission for even longer. Of course, the flu can usually be prevented by getting vaccinated, and though all kids hate that dreaded fall flu shot, it seems to work well in keeping them healthy. But when should parents get the flu shot?

The CDC released new guidelines pertaining to the adult vaccine schedule on Feb. 1. According to CBS News, doctors use these updated guidelines each year to "ensure that patients receive the right vaccines for their age, medical condition and other risk factors." And the changes made to the schedule are worth paying attention, even if you don't have kids at home at the moment, or are expecting.

The flu shot is one of these vaccines listed among the updated guidelines. Notably, the new guidelines state that the LAIV — or the flu mist, which injects a weakened form of the flu virus into the patient — should not be used this flu season, according to the CDC. The new guidelines also state that those with an egg allergy and have experienced symptoms other than hives can receive any type of flu shot. A revised vaccine chart was also released this month, and clearly states that all adults over the age of 19 should get the flu shot once a year, every year.

CDC/ Doug Jordan, M.A.

According to CBS News, adults are less likely to keep up with the recommended vaccine levels, especially the flu vaccine. "Flu vaccine is especially important for people with chronic health conditions, pregnant women, and older adults," Dr. David Kim of the CDC told the outlet. Therefore, parents and all adults should be getting the flu shot each year when the shot becomes available, typically around the fall and winter months, according to Health Line. The consequences of not getting the flu shot can be deadly — according to the CDC, hundreds of thousands of people are hospitalized from the flu each year. And just because you got the flu shot in 2016, doesn't mean you shouldn't wait a few years to get it again. According to the Mayo Clinic, new vaccines are given every year to keep up with the "rapidly adapting flu viruses."

Flu shots are relatively cheap — with some places offering it for free — and other big box pharmacies and grocery stores offering the flu shot for under $50, according to 20 Something Finance. And once you get it, the vaccine begins working quickly — according to the Mayo Clinic, anyone can benefit from the flu vaccine, even if they get it in the height of flu season.

Under the new CDC guidelines, adults should be getting the flu vaccine every year — this way both parents and their children can remain flu free.