As flu season ramps up the CDC has released new numbers estimating between 6-7 million people have fallen ill with the flu so far this season. It's important to get yourself and your kids vaccinated and the flu vaccine still remains the best way to guard yourself against the virus and all the symptoms that come along with it. Even though the flu vaccine isn't 100 percent effective it has been shown to reduce the severity of the illness in people who get vaccinated and still end up getting the flu. Importantly, according to the CDC, it can be life-saving for young children.
When it comes to vaccinating your kids there are two options: the shot or the nasal spray. The nasal spray is a popular option for parents to pick for their young kids. It doesn’t seem as scary for the kids and thus can often be easier on parents as well who aren't too keen on standing by and watching their child stress out about getting the shot.
The bad news is though according to a new study in the journal Pediatrics, the nasal spray doesn’t appear to be as effective in fighting the flu as the shot is. The results were analyzed using data sets from previous studies that were conducted in past flu seasons. Researchers found that the flu shot was 51% effective against any type of flu virus, compared that to 26 percent for the nasal spray. The AAP also recommends getting the flu shot over the nasal mist for this season.
A lot of parents might prefer the spray over the shot because it’s less painful for young patients. Although it may not be as effective, receiving a nasal spray vaccine may be better than not receiving any vaccine at all. You can always discuss any concerns you have with your child's pediatrician to choose the best option.
According to the CDC 19 states have high levels of flu activity this season, the important thing remains, getting vaccinated will help guard your family against the flu. The CDC recommends the flu shot for anyone 6 months or older. If you are expecting it's perfectly safe to get the flu shot and it can also help keep your newborn protected as well.
Of course, consult your doctor before getting the shot or the spray to determine the best course of action for your family.