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Kids born in the summer may be more likely to get the flu, researchers say


Your birth month can affect many aspects of your childhood, even if you don't believe in astrology. Take people born in August.

EMILY GIPSON: My name is Emily Gipson, and I love the heat. I love the humidity.

SAERA SAED: My name is Saera Saed, and as a kid I did not like that my birthday was in August because I hate summer. I hate the heat.

KATE BAUER: My name is Kate Bauer. It was really hard to have birthday parties because everyone was out of town.

JOSHUA CURRY: My name is Joshua Curry. My wife's birthday and my son's birthday's in August, so we typically have a big barbecue celebrating August birthdays.


Being born in August and certain other months has also been linked to catching the flu as a kid. Christopher Worsham and Anupam Jena are both doctors and researchers at Harvard, and they both have kids born in August. Here's Worsham.

CHRISTOPHER WORSHAM: Kids like ours born in the summer - when they go in for their annual physical, they can't get their flu shot, so they have to come back for another appointment. One of their parents has to bring them in, take off work, take them out of school or daycare.

INSKEEP: Lots of kids go in for those annual checkups near their birthdays, of course, and flu shots are usually not available until fall. So Worsham and Jena wondered, do some kids just never get their flu shots? And does that make it more likely they'll catch the flu?

ANUPAM JENA: We saw roughly a 15 percentage point difference in the likelihood that a August-born kid versus a October-born kid got the flu shot.

MARTÍNEZ: They discovered that by scouring data from insurance claims. And Jena says there's actually a simple fix - just schedule that flu shot. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Steve Inskeep is a host of NPR's Morning Edition, as well as NPR's morning news podcast Up First.
A Martínez
A Martínez is one of the hosts of Morning Edition and Up First. He came to NPR in 2021 and is based out of NPR West.

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