As a pediatric doctor, you are well aware of how difficult it can be for everyone when shots are required. Children are understandably leery of having sharp things stuck into their bodies, and their parents are often as uncomfortable about the procedure as the children are, if not more so. As the weather turns colder, the flu vaccine becomes more necessary. This is especially true for both children and the elderly. However, some children really cannot tolerate shots, and forcing one on them is traumatic for everyone. As a healthcare professional, especially one invested in working with children, upsetting a child or hurting them in anyway, is truly distressing.
Recently, as use of the flu vaccine has become more and more widespread, manufacturers have begun to develop alternative ways to administer the flu vaccine. To date, the most successful alternative to emerge has been a nasal spray flu vaccine. It is an excellent alternative to flu shots, and can be used on your child patients two years of age and older. Although, if they have a sensitivity to nasal sprays already, administering the flu vaccine this way will most likely feel as disturbing as a shot would. You will need to base the decision of what type of vaccine to administer to each child on an individual basis. For most children, however, the nasal spray flu vaccine is a welcome alternative to the flu shot, and vaccinates against H1N1, H3N2, and two B flu viruses. If you have a young patient who really, really dislikes the flu shot, discuss the nasal spray flu vaccine with both the child’s parents, and the child. You may just make this winter a lot more comfortable for everyone.