No appointment is necessary to receive the flu vaccine for our established pediatric patients.
Click here for more information or directions.
We will bill insurance for you. Most insurance plans pay full cost of the flu vaccine.
If a child does not receive their immunization during one of these flu clinics, they may do so during a regular scheduled appointment with their Western Montana Clinic pediatric provider or by calling their provider's medical assistant to arrange an alternate time.
*If this is the first time a child between the ages of 6 months and 9 years is receiving a flu vaccine, they will need two doses, one month apart.
If your child has one of the following conditions, please consult with their provider prior to them receiving their flu vaccine:
- Your child is allergic to chicken, chicken eggs, chicken feathers, chicken dander or Thimerosol
- Your child has ever had a reaction to a prior flu vaccine
- Your child has an active neurologist disorder
- Your child has a fever, acute respiratory infection or illness
- Has received another type of vaccine during the past 14 days other than the influenza (flu) vaccine
Do kids really need a flu shot every year?
Certain populations are at increased risk for flu complications including young children. The flu can causes severe illness lasting days, and in some situations, hospitalization and even death.
Western Montana Clinic Pediatric Department offers flu vaccine to all of our patients. ALL children 6 months and older should be vaccinated. Flu strains are different each year, so even if your child got a flu shot last year, they still need to get this year's vaccine to be protected.
What is influenza or the flu?
Influenza, commonly called the "flu", is a contagious respiratory illness caused by a viral infection. People often use the term "flu" to describe any kind of mild illness, such as colds or stomach viruses, that have symptoms similar to the flu. But, the real flu is different. Flu symptoms are usually worse than a cold and last longer in duration.
Other Ways to Help Prevent the Flu
- When you sneeze or cough, cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when possible and dispose of these tissues promptly
- Cover your cough or sneeze with your arm not your hand
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, or with an alcohol-bashed cleaner
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth as this promotes the spread of germs
- Try to avoid close contact with people who are sick
I think my child has the flu, now what?
Talk to your provider's office early if you are worried about your child's illness.
Make sure your child gets plenty of rest and drinks enough fluids. If your child is 5 years and older without long-term health problems and gets flu symptoms, including a fever and or cough, consult your doctor as needed.
Children younger than 5 years of age - especially those younger than 2 years - and children with certain long-term health problems (including asthma, diabetes and disorders of the brain or nervous system), are at high risk of serious flu-related complications. Call our office right away if they develop flu symptoms at 406-721-5600.
There are things that parents can do before, during and after vaccine visits to make them easier and less stressful.
Before the Visit
Come prepared! Take these steps before your child gets a shot to help make the immunization visit less stressful on you both.
- Write down any questions you may have.
- If this will be your child's first immunization visit with the Western Montana Clinic, find your child’s personal immunization record and bring it to your appointment. An up-to-date record tells your provider exactly what shots your child has already received.
- Pack a favorite toy or book, and a blanket that your child uses regularly to comfort your child.
- A mild illness is usually not a reason to reschedule a vaccination visit. Learn more about vaccines when your child is sick.
For older children
- Be honest with your child. Explain that shots can pinch or sting, but that it won’t hurt for long.
- Engage other family members, especially older siblings, to support your child.
- Avoid telling scary stories or making threats about shots.
- Remind children that vaccines can keep them healthy.
At the Provider's Office
If you have questions about immunizations, ask your child’s provider or nurse. Your child’s provider will give you Vaccine Information Statements (VIS) for the shots that your child will be getting that day. VIS include information about the risks and benefits of each vaccine.
For babies and younger children
Try these ideas for making the shots easier on your child.
- Distract and comfort your child by cuddling, singing, or talking softly.
- Smile and make eye contact with your child. Let your child know that everything is ok.
- Comfort your child with a favorite toy or book. A blanket that smells familiar will help your child feel more comfortable.
- Hold your child firmly on your lap, whenever possible. Learn more about how to hold your child during shots.
Once your child has received all of the shots, be especially supportive. Try these tips for soothing your baby:
- Skin-to-skin contact
- Offering a bottle or sweet beverage, like juice (when the child is older than 6 months)
For older children and adolescents
- Take deep breaths with your child to help "blow out" the pain.
- Point out interesting things in the room to help create distractions.
- Tell or read stories.
- Support your child if he or she cries. Never scold a child for not "being brave."
Fainting (syncope) can be common among adolescents immediately after getting shots. To help prevent any injuries that could occur from a fall while fainting, your preteen or teen should stay seated for 15 minutes after the shot. Learn more about fainting.
Before you leave the appointment, ask your child’s provider for advice on using non-aspirin pain reliever and other steps you can take at home to comfort your child.
After the Shots
Sometimes children experience mild reactions from vaccines, such as pain at the injection site, a rash or a fever. These reactions are normal and will soon go away. The following tips will help you identify and minimize mild side effects.
- Review any information your provider gives you about the shots, especially the Vaccine Information Statements -VIS, or other sheets that outline which side effects might be expected.
- Use a cool, wet cloth to reduce redness, soreness, and swelling in the place where the shot was given.
- Reduce any fever with a cool sponge bath. If your provider approves, give non-aspirin pain reliever.
- Give your child lots of liquid. It’s normal for some children to eat less during the 24 hours after getting vaccines.
- Pay extra attention to your child for a few days. If you see something that concerns you, call your provider.