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Should my child with a heart defect get a flu shot?

Diana K. Blythe, MD
Pediatrics

While it is advised that almost all children get the flu shot, it is even more important for children with certain chronic diseases. Some heart defects can cause the child to be weakened and have less energy. Influenza, or the flu, is a serious illness for healthy children. A child whose health is not as good at baseline is even more at risk for the more serious flu symptoms. Children with heart defects should absolutely get the flu shot!

Patients of all ages can receive the flu vaccine, including children. Most pediatric interventional cardiologists recommend that most children with structural heart disease receive the annual flu shot. Patients with heart disease are at a greater risk of complications from influenza.
 
Iris Rodriguez-Johnson, MD
Pediatrics
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all children especially those with high risk factors such as pulmonary, cardiac, and hematologic patients get the flu vaccine. Also, Children greater than 6 month old should get the flu vaccine.
Children with heart defects should get a flu shot. Flu shots are safe and recommended for everyone ages 6 months and up, with very few exceptions. In fact, very young children, those under 5, are at high risk for severe complications from the flu, so annual vaccination is critical. What's more, people of any age with heart problems such as congenital heart disease or coronary artery disease are at high risk for flu-related complications.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.