For years, parents have rejoiced at the availability of FluMist, which is a flu vaccine delivered via nasal spray rather than an unfriendly needle. While this type of vaccination is certainly convenient, research has shown that it is not nearly as effective as conventional immunization with a flu shot. This article will take a look at why FluMist is no longer cutting it for effective flu vaccination as well as some tips to help your child better tolerate the traditional flu shot.
What’s the problem with FluMist?
FluMist has seen a decline in effectiveness against seasonal influenza strains in the past few years, and this trend has prompted the CDC to advise against the vaccine’s use. As a result, clinics have stopped ordering FluMist as its availability in the market shrinks. There is some controversy due to conflicting studies related to the efficacy of the nasal spray vaccine. However, because clinic demands will dictate the availability of the flu vaccine, the fate of FluMist is essentially sealed. It will be scarcely available if at all, and pediatricians will not recommend it for their patients. For children with asthma and severe allergies, this will make no impact, because FluMist is already not recommended in their cases.
How can you make the flu shot easier for your child?
Because flu vaccination is still a necessity for people of all ages—especially children—you may want to prepare for that dreaded visit to the doctor’s office for your child’s flu shot. One strategy that can be helpful is receiving a shot at the same time as your child. Everyone in your family should have a flu shot anyway, and getting yours alongside your child might help him or her remain more calm and comfortable. Younger kids can benefit from the presence of a favorite toy or stuffed animal, as well as lots of love and affection from parents. If your child is older, you will want to explain the importance of regular immunization for their ongoing health. This can help to establish good habits for a lifetime while preparing your child for the coming flu season.
What else can you do to prepare for flu season?
A flu shot is a great first line of protection for the season, but it’s not foolproof. You’ll want to take other steps to keep the flu virus out of your home, including washing your hands often, eating a healthy diet, and talking to your doctor. If you or a family member does get the flu, don’t hesitate to see a doctor right away. When diagnosed early, the flu can be treated with anti-viral medication such as Tamiflu to shorten the length of the illness and reduce the severity of symptoms.
If you suspect flu symptoms and don’t have time to go to the doctor’s office, MeMD can care for you right at home. Our board-certified medical providers can write electronic prescriptions when medically necessary and provide sound medical advice to keep the flu at bay in your household.