Tips to Prepare Kids for the Flu Shot and Helpful Hints to Avoid Getting Sick

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What you need to know about FluMist® effectiveness this year. 

The CDC says it’s impossible to predict the potential severity of this year’s flu season. But unofficially, it’s been noted that an increase in summer colds, especially among those who don’t normally get them, might possibly mean an epic flu season. And in our corner of North Texas, we saw and heard reports of people coming down with viruses who never get sick, so perhaps it’s not too early to start planning for prevention.

If your first thought was — great, we’ll take the whole family out for FluMist — you’ll have to think again. The CDC has officially recommended the flu shot over the nasal spray version after data showed that the effectiveness of last year’s flu mist vaccination on children ages 2 through 17 was only 3%.

Or, as the CDC put it, “no protective benefit could be measured.” Sad face emoji.

But that’s no excuse to skip the flu vaccine. Annually, 200,000 adults and children are hospitalized from the flu. Matt Bush, MD, an Emergency Medicine Physician at Medical City Dallas, says everybody needs to get a flu shot this year.

Helping children overcome a fear of needles.

So how do you break the news to the kids? CareNow, which has flu vaccination locations all over North Texas, offers tips for taking the sting out of shots.

  • Be honest. If your child asks, tell them that they are going to get a shot and that it may hurt, but only for a short time.
  • Don’t make a big deal out of it. Only bring it up if they ask, and even then, keep your dialogue short and sweet. The more you talk about it — even reassuringly — the more anxious your child will be.
  • Provide a distraction. While the shot is being administered, talk to your child, squeeze her hand, tell a story or sing a favorite song. (If your child is screaming and has to be held down by three people, this will be ineffective, but it may distract you long enough to get though the ordeal.)
  • Know when to step back. As noted above, screaming tantrums are a signal to step away and let the professionals do their job.
  • Comfort your child afterward. Sitting quietly or rocking for a few minutes, placing an ice pack on the injection site or administering children’s pain relief medication may help your child feel better.
  • Offer a reward. A small incentive, such as a lollipop or sticker, can help children destress after a shot.

What else you can do to avoid the flu.

Make sure everyone knows how to correctly wash their hands.

Teach kids the right way to cough and sneeze.

Know when your child should is too sick and should stay home from school or day care.

Check out more tips for spotting sick kids and options for sick-child care at our pregnancy blog on WeDeliverDreams.

We hope all your flu shots are painless and effective, but if the flu goes askew, one of our many Medical City Healthcare emergency locations has you covered. With average wait times posted online, if you do have an emergency, you can spend less time waiting and more time on the moments that matter most.

Visit FastERTX.com to find a fast Medical City Healthcare ER near you.

 

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