Do flu shots help very young children? Here’s what one study says

With flu season underway, flu shots are particularly important for very young children. A new study finds that vaccinations do help prevent babies from getting sick.

This study at Turku University in Turku, Finland, published Tuesday in the Lancet Infectious Diseases says the 2007-08 vaccine was effective in preventing influenza in children as young as 9 months old. “Our findings suggest that influenza vaccine recommendations should be reassessed in most countries,” the study says.

The recommended age for American kids is even younger. This Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Web page recommends flu shots for children 6 months old and up. The CDC also points out that each year about 20,000 children who are younger than 5 years old wind up in the hospital from the flu, even if they are otherwise healthy.

How quickly does influenza spread? Here’s a FluView map that each week tracks the number of flu cases by state.