American Academy of Pediatrics recommends all children ages 6 months and up should get flu shot ASAP

MILWAUKEE -- The American Academy of Pediatrics is recommending all children who are 6 months of age and older should get a flu shot as soon as possible.

The academy says a flu shot significantly reduces a child's risk of severe illness and flu-related death.

Officials issued a policy statement published online Monday, Sept. 3 in the journal "Pediatrics."

Dr. Flor Munoz said "the flu virus is common and unpredictable. It can cause serious complications, even in healthy children." Munoz said being immunized reduces the risk of a child being hospitalized with the flu.

The CDC says last year's flu season was one of the most severe on record.

The illness left thousands of children in the United States hospitalized, and 179 children died of flu-related causes.

The CDC says about 80 percent of the children who died hadn't had a flu shot.