Story by: Joe Hall on September 11, 2017
Get ready for some unhappy kids. It’s time to start getting the yearly flu vaccine, and the FluMist is being tossed aside.
Last year, the American Academy of Pediatrics stopped recommending the nasal spray, saying it was barely effective at preventing the virus. Experts are doubling down on that stance by telling families to stay away from the spray again this year.
“For a long time, we thought the mist was most effective,” said Brian E. Posnansky, M.D., pediatrician with Norton Children’s Medical Group – Middletown. “But research has shown the mist hasn’t offered great protection in recent years.”
Norton Healthcare and Norton Children’s doctors aren’t carrying the mist this year, but they do have shots available for patients 6 months and older. Dr. Posnansky said the shot is the best way to prevent the flu, which infects up to 20 percent of the local population every year.
You can schedule your child’s flu shot with your pediatrician. Don’t have a pediatrician?
“We know kids — or adults for that matter — don’t enjoy getting shots, but that’s not a reason to skip the vaccine altogether,” Dr. Posnansky said. “Parents of children with needle phobia should be honest that the shot will hurt, but only briefly. It may also help to tell children old enough to understand that the vaccine’s purpose is to stop them and people around them from getting very sick. If that doesn’t work, sometimes offering a reward, like a sticker or extra time on the iPad will.”
Here are some other points to keep in mind as flu season approaches:
Remind children to also practice these healthy habits because germs spread easily at school and in child care settings, resulting in high rates of missed school among students and staff.