If you haven't gotten your flu vaccine yet, it's not too late! Influenza activity usually peaks in January or February, but can continue well into the spring. Getting vaccinated is beneficial as long as influenza viruses are circulating. If you haven't already, you can still get a flu vaccine to protect yourself and your family throughout the flu season.
How flu spreads
Most experts believe that flu viruses spread mainly by droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby. Less often, a person might also get flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth, eyes or nose. This means children can spread the virus to their friends and teammates, especially when a team travels together.
Symptoms start one to four days after the virus enters the body. Most healthy people may be able to infect others beginning one day before symptoms develop. That means that kids may be able to pass on the flu to their teammates before their parents realize that they are sick. Flu transmission can continue for up to 5-7 days after becoming sick, though children can pass the virus for longer than seven days.
How to protect your family from the flu
The best protection from the flu this season, and every flu season, is a flu vaccine. Many children need two doses of the vaccine this season to be fully protected. If your child has not received his or her first dose, get them vaccinated now. For those who have been vaccinated with one dose, check with your child's pediatrician or a health care provider to see if a second dose is needed. If you have a child who is ""shot shy,"" consider the nasal spray vaccine, FluMist®. It's safe and effective for healthy children, two years of age and older.
Find out where you can get vaccinated
Need to find flu vaccine near you? Use the Flu Vaccine Finder
on Flu.gov to search for vaccine sites by city and state or zip code. The flu vaccine is widely available through places such as your local health department, pharmacy, urgent care clinic, your child's school, or your workplace.