What Parents Need to Know About the Deadliest Flu Season on Record

As the upcoming flu season approaches, experts are urging parents to get the flu vaccine for their children and themselves.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 180 children died from the flu last season, making 2017-2018 the deadliest flu season on record. Eighty percent of these fatal cases were children who didn’t get the flu vaccine.

The flu vaccine is recommended for everyone six months and older. It’s important to know that children who don’t get the vaccine could be at risk for serious side effects from the flu. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • The CDC reports children under the age of five are more likely to experience flu-related complications, and the risk significantly increases for children under the age of two.
  • Children with long-term health conditions such as asthma or other lung-related issues, heart disease and neurological or neurodevelopmental disorders have a higher risk of experiencing flu-related complications.
  • Only half of the children who died due to flu-related complications last season had a pre-existing medical condition. This means that healthy children may still be at risk of severe flu complications.

Don’t be fooled by the myths associated with the flu vaccine. One thing you might hear is: “Vaccines don’t really do anything — look at last year’s flu shot.” However, receiving the flu vaccine can be vital to you and your family, no matter the circumstance. A 2017 CDC study published in Pediatrics showed that the flu vaccine lessened the risk of flu-related child deaths by 51 percent for children with a pre-existing medical condition and nearly 65 percent for otherwise healthy children.

This year, you can make the valuable decision to protect your little ones by having them receive the flu shot.

Visit a participating pharmacy with your Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan or Blue Care Network member ID card to get your flu shot today. While most pharmacies will accept your coverage, be sure to ask before you get your vaccine. Then, write down the date and let your doctor know at your next appointment so he or she can keep your immunization chart up to date — and you and your children healthy.

You can also schedule an appointment with your primary doctor to get one. Your office visit copayment may apply.

For Blue Cross members without BCBSM pharmacy coverage: Visit bcbsm.com/preventflu to see a list of immunizing pharmacies that provide vaccines under your medical coverage.

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