Good news for parents and children who hate needles and flu shots: Starting this year, health officials recommend that healthy kids ages 2 to 8 get the nasal spray flu vaccine instead of flu shots. Officials say that the nasal spray vaccine works better, and that using the spray instead of the needle may result in more kids getting the flu vaccine.
Studies in recent years have shown that among children, the nasal spray vaccine prevented 50 percent more illnesses from the influenza virus than did the injections, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The nasal spray is also approved for healthy people up to age 49.
The CDC says influenza annually causes hundreds of thousands of illnesses – sometimes severe – and leads to 3,000 to 49,000 deaths per year. Flu cases typically peak from December to February, and the vaccine generally takes two weeks to spark an immune response. The CDC urges a flu vaccine for everyone over age 6 months.
Along with the vaccine, everyone can help prevent the flu with simple precautions: Wash your hands often for at least 20 seconds, avoid close contact with sick people, stay home if you are sick, and cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or your elbow.
For more information, visit floridahealth.gov.