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Your Healthy Family: Doctors expect earlier flu season

Posted at 7:36 AM, Sep 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-19 11:24:46-04

Flu season typically starts next month, but health experts say based on what we're seeing in other parts of the world, we could see an earlier flu season this year.

Doctors say the best way to protect your kids ahead of flu season is to get their flu shots.

“We can often predict what our flu season is going to look like by following the other side of the world, whose flu season starts earlier than ours. And what we're seeing in other parts of the world, most specifically Australia, is that they are having an earlier onset of their flu season, as well as higher rates. So if that trend continues, we will likely be seeing that here in the U.S. as well," Dr. Kimberly Giuliano of Cleveland Clinic Children's said.

She recommends a flu shot for all kids 6 months and older. She said kids should get the shot now, before flu cases start to tick up. Dr. Giuliano said the shot helps prevent severe illness and even death. While kids with underlying health conditions are more likely to have complications from the flu, she said all kids are still at risk.

“We do see severe flu every single year in our hospitals, in children who were otherwise healthy. So healthy today, healthy their entire life, and in the hospital with severe pneumonia, needing oxygen and sometimes even ventilator support,” Dr. Giuliano said.

She said it’s also important for kids to wash their hands regularly, cough into their arms instead of their hands, and stay home if they're sick.