Like most kids their age, my son and daughter hate getting shots. Which is why every year when flu season rolls around, we opt to take the nasal spray route. Best. Invention. Ever.
Or at least it was. Because now comes the news that The American Academy of Pediatrics is not recommending the spray this season, after studies revealed its poor success rate.
In fact, the effectiveness of the nasal spray among children ages 2 through 17 was only 3 percent (!) last year, compared with 63 percent for the injected vaccine.
That's a pretty staggering difference! Which is why the Academy has now issued an updated policy statement recommending that all children ages 6 months and older receive an actual flu shot instead of the spray for the 2016-17 season.
"The best way to protect children from influenza is to get them immunized with the injected vaccine this season," Wendy Sue Swanson, M.D., MBE, FAAP told Parents.com. "It's safe and effective with young children, and we know that the majority of children who get influenza and die from influenza aren't immunized."
Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding are also encouraged to get the shot. "Pregnant women are at high risk for serious infections and complications from influenza," Dr. Swanson explained. "That means they are at higher risk for serious complications like pneumonia, more invasive infections requiring hospitalization, and even life-threatening infections."
Scary stuff. But perhaps the best argument for getting the shot while preggers is the fact that a mama-to-be's vaccination is a double whammy of sorts, since it also protects their babies during the first few months of life.
"Studies show the transfer of antibodies through the placenta to the baby can protect a baby as long as six months and reduce the likelihood of serious influenza infection," she told us. "It's a win-win."
As for all the parents of needle-phobic kids out there—myself included—it's time to find out if your pediatrician has a ShotBlocker, or maybe even pick one up yourself over on Amazon. According to my 10-year-old, these bad boys do a pretty good job of using distraction to reduce injection pain.
My own two cents? The promise of a post-visit stop for ice cream works wonders, too.