With flu season fast approaching, parents are already wondering just when to get their children inoculated. However, there is also another choice to be made: the flu shot or a nasal spray?
According to a previous article by the Inquisitr, the American Academy of Pediatrics issued a statement on Monday that suggested everyone should get their annual flu shot before Halloween to help boost resistance to influenza ahead of the flu season. And, considering that 179 children lost their lives due to the flu last year, and thousands more were hospitalized, the vaccine is especially recommended for pregnant women and children over the age of six months.
Dr. Jennifer Shu, who is a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics but is not involved in the new recommendations, suggests no child should go trick or treating without first receiving their flu shot, according to Fox 8 Cleveland.
“Everyone over 6 months of age should get their flu vaccine before Halloween. Don’t go trick-or-treating unless you’ve had your flu shot.”
In addition to the flu shot, parents now have the option of a nasal spray to administer the inoculation. Heralded as a great way to alleviate the fear associated with the flu shot, the nasal spray can be considered for children who are terrified of needles. But, how effective is the nasal spray?
FluMist is an alternative to those who have a needle phobia. While most flu shots are made from dead influenza virus strains, the nasal spray, FluMist, is made from weakened strains of the virus, according to Fox 8 Cleveland. And, according to FluMist‘s website, those who suffer egg allergies, should not use the needle-free alternative. In addition, those who have ever suffered a life-threatening illness from the flu and those between the ages of 2-17 who currently use aspirin regularly should also not use the nasal spray.
NBC News states that while the nasal spray can be used as a substitute, the flu shot is still more effective in combating influenza, as per the guidelines laid down by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
“The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends an inactivated influenza vaccine (IIV), trivalent or quadrivalent, as the primary choice for influenza vaccination in children because the effectiveness of a live attenuated influenza vaccine against influenza A(H1N1) was inferior during past influenza seasons and is unknown for this upcoming season,” the guidelines suggest.
However, for those children who would not otherwise receive a flu shot because of their aversion to needles, the nasal spray is an acceptable substitute over not being vaccinated at all.
“A live attenuated influenza vaccine may be used for children who would not otherwise receive an influenza vaccine (eg, refusal of an IIV) and for whom it is appropriate because of age (2 years of age and older) and health status (ie, healthy and without any underlying chronic medical condition).”
Previously, the nasal spray had not been recommended for the last two flu seasons because it was considered to be less powerful against some strains of influenza.