Kids and a Painless Flu Vaccine

Spray is an alternative to shot

child scared of a needle

Let’s face it. Flu shots are no fun, especially for kids. But vaccination is their best defense against the influenza virus.

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Camille Sabella, MD, a doctor who treats pediatric infectious diseases at Cleveland Clinic, says that some kids now have the option of avoiding a shot altogether.

“We now have a nasal mist spray that is routinely recommended for any child two years old or older who is otherwise healthy,” says Dr. Sabella.

The spray, called FluMist, is made with live influenza viruses, but they are weakened and won’t actually give your child the flu. The only side effect your child may experience is a runny nose.

Most kids also tolerate the flu shot very well. Dr. Sabella says any side effects are mild.

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“You may have some pain, some swelling at the sight of the injection, and maybe feeling a little tired for about 24 hours after, but that is really the extent of the side-effects that we see,” he says.

Dr. Sabella says both forms are safe and effective, but if your child has an egg allergy, you should talk to your pediatrician first before getting your child vaccinated.

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