Preparing for flu season and protecting already sick children

Photo of flu vaccine. (WISH Photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Flu season is just around the corner and doctors want you to stay ahead ahead of the virus.

They say the best way to do that is to flu shots early on to protect the whole family.

Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health will begin their Family Flu Vaccination Campaign next week. Flu shots will be offered to parents, siblings, and direct caregivers of Riley patients for free.

The hope is that it will create a safety net around those children in the hospital who have already dealt with health issues and carry on to protect them after they get out of the hospital.

“Working in the cancer center, most all of our children are immuno-compromised, so they are at great risk for getting all sorts of infections so obviously prevention is the best,” said Jennifer Harker a, nurse with Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health.

Strains of the flu change and resurface each year so that is why health professionals believe it is important to be proactive.

“We recommend getting your flu vaccine early as opposed to waiting for the flu season to officially start. It varies every year. It usually takes two to three weeks for your body to build up immunity to the flu virus after you’ve received that vaccine,” said Adam Karcz who is the Director of Infection Prevention with Riley Children’s Hospital at IU Health.

Health professionals at the hospital said this year they are prepared to give 2,000 doses of the flu vaccine and 100 doses of the TDAP vaccine, which is for the whooping cough.