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Can’t Avoid a Shot this Flu Season: Easing Kids’ ‘Needle-Phobia’

by |  September 21st, 2016
  

This flu season no one will be able to avoid getting a flu shot.

That’s because FluMist, the nasal spray version of the flu vaccine often given to kids who are not fans of needles, was deemed ineffective for this year’s flu season. This means it will not be available anywhere.

This is tough news for parents whose children are needle-phobic. But, getting a prick from a shot is a cake-walk versus taking care of a kiddo with the flu.

We feel your pain (needle, that is). Here are 4 tricks that might help your kid overcome his fear of getting a shot:

  • Don’t tell him too early. It is best to talk about the shot when it’s going to happen, like at the doctor office, and not several days or weeks before. Children have amazing imaginations. The anticipation of a shot may ruin his week and build up the fear to pure terror. So, don’t mention the shot unless he asks. And if he does ask, it’s okay to be vague with the details. (“We’ll have to check with the doctor to see if you need one.”)
  • Be honest. If your child asks if the shot is going to hurt, say yes, but that it’ll hurt for just a few seconds. After the shot give her a big smile and tell her how brave she is.
  • Distract! For younger kids, sing their favorite song, tell a funny joke or read a story. For older kids, have them listen to music or watch a video. They will barely notice the prick if they aren’t focusing on the needle.
  • Bribery (AKA reward). If the promise of stickers, a small toy or maybe a trip to the playground encourages cooperation (and prevents a screaming tantrum), go for it.

Important details about the flu vaccine. Children six months of age and older should get a flu vaccine. Children under 8 years of old who have never received the flu vaccine need a series of 2 doses given one month apart for best protection.

You don’t need an appointment to get a flu shot. WALK-IN Flu Shot Clinics are available on the following days:

  • Wednesday, Sept 21 from 3pm-5pm
  • Wednesday, Sept 28 from 3pm-5pm
  • Saturday, Oct 1 from 9am-12pm

Patients who have scheduled well child visits with us may get the flu shot at that appointment.


|, , , 411 Pediatrics vaccines

About

Dr. Ari Brown is a pediatrician and a mom. Dr. Brown is Board Certified and a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics. She has been in private practice for over 20 years. Her passion to advocate for children and educate families extends beyond the office setting. She is the co-author the bestselling "411" parenting book series including Expecting 411: Clear Answers and Smart Advice for your Pregnancy, Baby 411, and Toddler 411. Dr. Brown has received several professional awards including the Ralph Feigin, MD Award for Professional Excellence, the prestigious Profiles in Power Award by the Austin Business Journal for her service to the community, Austin's Favorite Pediatrician by Austin Family Magazine, and Texas Monthly Magazine's Super Doctor.

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