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Flu.IN.gov > Individuals & Families > Parents and Caregivers Parents and Caregivers

Young children, pregnant women, older adults, and people with chronic health problems can get very sick or be presented with life threatening concerns when infected with the influenza virus. This is why “The Flu: A Guide for Parents” from the Centers for Disease Control offers advice to help safeguard children and adults from this serious infection.

How can I protect my child from the flu?

A flu vaccine is the best way to protect against the flu. CDC recommends that all children from the ages of 6 months up to their 5th birthday get a flu vaccine every fall or winter (children getting a vaccine for the first time need two doses).

Children under 5 years old who have had wheezing in the past year or any child with chronic health problems should get the flu shot.

You can protect your child by getting a flu vaccine for yourself too. Also encourage your child's close contacts to get a flu vaccine. This is very important if your child is younger than 5 or has a chronic health problem like asthma (breathing disease) or diabetes (high blood sugar levels).

What can I do if my child gets sick?

Consult your doctor and make sure your child gets plenty of rest and drinks a lot of fluids. If your child is older than 2 years, you can buy medicine (over-the-counter) without a prescription that might make your child feel better. Be careful with these medicines and follow the instructions on the package. But never give aspirin or medicine that has aspirin in it to children or teenagers who may have the flu.

What if my child seems very sick?

Call or take your child to a doctor right away if your child:

Can my child go to school if he or she is sick?

No. Your child should stay home to rest and to avoid giving the flu to other children.

Should my child go to school if other children are sick?

It is not unusual for some children in school to get sick during the winter months. If many children get sick, it is up to you to decide whether to send your child to school. You might want to check with your doctor, especially if your child has other health problems.

When can my child go back to school after having the flu?

Keep your child home from school until his or her temperature has been normal for 24 hours. Remind your child to cover their mouth when coughing or sneezing, to protect others (you may want to send some tissue and wipes or gels with alcohol in them to school with your child).

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