Flu season, meet pandemic—here’s how parents can prepare

Pediatricians are urging parents to make sure families get their flu shots this year.

flu season 2020

This year's flu season is unlike any other, because it is expected to coincide with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Flu season, which typically begins in the U.S. in October and peaks in February, sickens millions of people every year, sending hundreds of thousands to the hospital.

Taking measures to protect yourself and your family from the flu will be more important than ever for the 2020-2021 flu season. Here's what parents should know.

How might the flu season starting in fall 2020 be different than in previous years?

Each flu season is unpredictable, but what we do know is that getting the flu shot remains the best protection against influenza and is something everyone can do to help keep themselves and their loved ones healthy. Getting your flu shot is even more important amidst the COVID-19 pandemic to help maintain respiratory health, prevent community spread of viruses, and reduce the burden on the healthcare system.


The good news is that many of the same protective health practices that have become second nature to so many of us during the pandemic are also helpful in preventing the spread of the flu. Other than getting a flu shot, families can stay healthy by washing hands frequently, avoiding close contact with those who are sick, avoiding touching your eyes, mouth and nose, and staying in good overall health by getting plenty of sleep, eating a nutritious diet and exercising regularly.

The experience of getting the flu shot may be a bit different this year, too. Your pediatrician's office will be taking measures to keep patients safe during in-office visits, and if you get your flu shot at a clinic or drugstore, you'll also notice different protocols in place. You will be asked to wear a face covering, and you may also be screened for the presence of symptoms or illness, including getting your temperature checked before getting the vaccine. Staff and care providers will wear face masks and face shields while administering vaccinations for additional protection.

Should kids get the flu shot this year?

The CDC urges everyone 6 months and older to get a flu shot every year, and this year is no different. At Walgreens, where I serve as Chief Medical Officer, we recently lowered our pediatric flu shot age requirement to age 4 in eligible states so that our pharmacists can vaccinate even more children for influenza, as children are particularly vulnerable to serious flu complications.

As parents navigate the uncertainties of going back to daycare or school, flu immunizations are more critical than ever to ensure the health of their families and community.

Should pregnant women get the flu shot this year?

The CDC recommends receiving a flu shot during pregnancy. In fact, it is recommended that all women who are pregnant or may become pregnant during the flu season receive a flu shot at any trimester. Pregnant women are at greater risk of complications from the flu, and the flu shot has been proven safe during pregnancy. Plus, a flu shot protects both mother and baby from getting the flu, since the mother can pass some of the antibodies on to the baby.

We encourage getting a flu shot as soon as it becomes available in your community and if you develop flu symptoms during pregnancy, see your healthcare provider right away.

When is the best time to get the flu shot?

While in previous years, doctors have recommended getting the flu shot before Halloween, the fact is it's never too late to get the flu vaccine.

We recommend getting your flu shot as soon as it is available to avoid missing an opportunity to get vaccinated. You can contact your local pharmacist or healthcare provider to determine what's right for you.

It takes about two weeks to develop the antibodies to fight the flu after getting your flu shot, so it's important to get it before the flu spreads to best protect yourself, your loved ones and your community. With this flu season coinciding with COVID-19, it is more important than ever to get vaccinated to protect from vaccine-preventable illnesses.

Can getting a flu shot impact your immune response or make you more susceptible to COVID-19?

No. According to the CDC, there is no evidence that getting the flu shot increases the risk of becoming infected with COVID-19. What we do know is that while we don't yet have a vaccine for COVID-19, flu shots are available to help prevent influenza. Both COVID-19 and flu are contagious respiratory illnesses which can result in serious complications such as pneumonia, more severe infections and worsening of current conditions. Getting your flu shot may also reduce the severity of symptoms if you do get it, and help reduce the risk that you'll be hospitalized—which is particularly important this season as hospitals may be overburdened during the pandemic.

If despite your best efforts to prevent getting sick, someone in your family does come down with the flu, don't panic. Follow treatment advice for the flu from your doctor or pediatrician, and be aware of the differences in symptoms between the flu and COVID-19.

As always, your best first step is to be in touch with your health care provider about any questions or concerns. Be well.

14 outdoor toys your kids will want to play with beyond summer

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.


Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!


Detective set

Plan Toys detective setDetective Set

This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.


Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll strollerWooden Doll Stroller

Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.


Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.


Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.


Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.


Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.


Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.


Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.


Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.


Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.


Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.


Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.


We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.


I never wanted to be a mom. It wasn't something I ever thought would happen until I fell madly in love with my husband—who knew very well he wanted children. While he was a natural at entertaining our nephews or our friends' kids, I would awkwardly try to interact with them, not really knowing what to say or do.

Our first pregnancy was a surprise, a much-wanted one but also a unicorn, "first try" kind of pregnancy. As my belly grew bigger, so did my insecurities. How do you even mom when you never saw motherhood in your future? I focused all my uncertainties on coming up with a plan for the delivery of my baby—which proved to be a terrible idea when my dreamed-of unmedicated vaginal birth turned into an emergency C-section. I couldn't even start motherhood the way I wanted, I thought. And that feeling happened again when I couldn't breastfeed and instead had to pump and bottle-feed. And once more, when all the stress from things not going my way turned into debilitating postpartum anxiety that left me not really enjoying my brand new baby.

As my baby grew, slowly so did my confidence that I could do this. When he would tumble to the ground while learning how to walk and only my hugs could calm him, I felt invincible. But on the nights he wouldn't sleep—whether because he was going through a regression, a leap, a teeth eruption or just a full moon—I would break down in tears to my husband telling him that he was a better parent than me.

Then I found out I was pregnant again, and that this time it was twins. I panicked. I really cannot do two babies at the same time. I kept repeating that to myself (and to my poor husband) at every single appointment we had because I was just terrified. He, of course, thought I could absolutely do it, and he got me through a very hard pregnancy.

When the twins were born at full term and just as big as singleton babies, I still felt inadequate, despite the monumental effort I had made to grow these healthy babies and go through a repeat C-section to make sure they were both okay. I still felt my skin crawl when they cried and thought, What if I can't calm them down? I still turned to my husband for diaper changes because I wasn't a good enough mom for twins.

My husband reminded me (and still does) that I am exactly what my babies need. That I am enough. A phrase that has now become my mantra, both in motherhood and beyond, because as my husband likes to say, I'm the queen of selling myself short on everything.

So when my babies start crying, I tell myself that I am enough to calm them down.

When my toddler has a tantrum, I remind myself that I am enough to get through to him.

When I go out with the three kids by myself and start sweating about everything that could go wrong (poop explosions times three), I remind myself that I am enough to handle it all, even with a little humor.

And then one day I found this bracelet. Initially, I thought how cheesy it'd be to wear a reminder like this on my wrist, but I bought it anyway because something about it was calling my name. I'm so glad I did because since day one I haven't stopped wearing it.

Every time I look down, there it is, shining back at me. I am enough.

I Am Enough bracelet 

SONTAKEY  I Am Enough Bracelet

May this Oath Bracelet be your reminder that you are perfect just the way you are. That you are enough for your children, you are enough for your friends & family, you are enough for everything that you do. You are enough, mama <3


We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.


The American Academy of Pediatrics says that newborns, especially, do not need a bath every day. While parents should make sure the diaper region of a baby is clean, until a baby learns how to crawl around and truly get messy, a daily bath is unnecessary.

So, why do we feel like kids should bathe every day?

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