(StatePoint) Each year, millions of Americans get sick from “seasonal influenza” (“the flu”). According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 38 million people got sick with the flu during the 2019-2020 flu season. The flu is more dangerous than the common cold and children are at higher risk for developing serious complications. More than 12 million children under the age of 18 were diagnosed with flu last year, and of those children diagnosed, more than 52,000 were hospitalized. However, there are preventive steps parents can take to protect their children and family from the flu.
Flu viruses change each year, so the best way to keep your kids and teens healthy is to make sure they get their yearly flu shot. The flu is a serious illness, but getting the flu shot helps lower the number of hospital visits and deaths. Remember, even healthy kids can get sick from the flu and spread it to family and others.
This year, it’s more important than ever for children 6 months and older, as well as adults, to get a seasonal flu shot. The CDC recommends getting a flu shot early in the season, but getting it at any time during the flu season can help.
Medicaid offers free or low-cost health insurance for eligible kids up to age 21; the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) covers eligible kids up to age 19. Medicaid and CHIP covers vaccinations for children, like the flu shot, but also other services like preventive care, well-child visits, dental and vision care, and mental and behavioral health care. Eligibility varies by state and depends on your household size and income. On average, a family of four earning up to $50,000 a year or more may qualify for Medicaid or CHIP. Enrollment is open all year, but you have to renew your health coverage yearly.
Catch Up on Missed Care
This is also a good time to catch up on other care and necessary preventive services your child may have missed because of COVID-19, like routine well-child visits and vaccinations. Routine well-child visits help health care providers ensure children are growing and developing normally, including meeting important developmental milestones and provide age-appropriate counseling and immunizations to keep children healthy. With Medicaid and CHIP coverage, parents can schedule preventive visits for their children. Your provider will tell you how to be safe and how to get important care to protect your kids’ health now and for the future.
Preventive care can keep you, your family and community healthy. Get covered with Medicaid and CHIP and catch up on care to prevent disease. Don’t forget to schedule your child’s yearly flu shot and protect your child’s health.
To learn more about Medicaid and CHIP, visit InsureKidsNow.gov or call 1-877-KIDS-NOW (1-877-543-7669) to speak with an enrollment specialist and get covered today.
Information provided by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.
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