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September 28, 2016 06:18 PM

FLUMIST Not An Option For This Year's Flu Shot

It hasn't been very long since a new treatment was lauded as a replacement for the traditional flu shot.

"I remember years ago the initial data seemed to show the FluMist was better. It seemed to last longer, it seemed to give broader protection of other strains of the flu," Dr. Sam Schimelpfenig said.

If you thought FluMist was a better option when it came to getting vaccinated today, you wouldn't be alone. Even Avera pediatrician Sam Schimelpfenig thought FluMist was the way of the future.

This year, it's not even an option.

"When they looked at the numbers from last year how effective was the flu vaccine — the injectable kind versus the mist kind — the mist kind was not very good compared to the injectable kind," Schimelpfenig said.

FluMist may have been the more comfortable option up front, but not in the long run.

"When we look at who's most at risk for influenza, young children and children under a year in particular are at very high risk," Schimelpfenig said.

According to the CDC, the nasal spray vaccine was only three percent effective in children ages 2 through 17.

As difficult as it may be for parents to convince their child to sit through the not-so-appealing shot, certified child life specialist Twila Perkinson says be honest and don't lie to your child about the shot.

"Be upfront with your kids let them know this is not a routine doctors visit this is one that we will have shots," Perkinson said.

Perkinson says it's important to walk your child through what is happening so they feel safe in the situation and more trusting. Appeal to their senses so they know what to expect.

"It's going to feel like this. It's going to feel cold and wet when they do the wipe. Information that you can use to prepare your child with," Perkinson said.

For infants, Perkinson says hold them in an upright position.

"As you lay down you feel more vulnerable and you tend to be a fight or flight. So if you can hold them in an upright position you're comforting them. Even just taking one leg to be accessible for the immunization," Perkinson said.
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