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Will your child need 4 flu shots?

October 7, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
With the two different kinds of flu shots and the two different versions it can be a little confusing for parents. So what's the best flu shot strategy for you and your family?Trisha Collins, a mom of three, say she's always had concerns about the flu shot and now she's even more leery of the swine flu vaccine.

"I'm worried about the safety of the shots and especially the swine flu shot," said Collins. "I think it's the first time they've ever been giving it out and we don't' know what the effects are."

"The technology is very safe and very effective," said infectious disease expert Dr. Jill Hoffman. "The safety data is the same every year."

Dr. Hoffman says every year Americans get a new flu vaccine. New strains are put in every flu season. So just because the H1N1 pandemic vaccine will be given separately it doesn't make it any different.

"It's made the same way. There is no reason to expect that this is going to be any different," said Dr. Hoffman.

What will be different is the number of shots for kids. Children under 10 who have never received a flu vaccine will need two doses of each.

So that would be two of the seasonal flu and two of the pandemic vaccinations.

If your child is strictly getting nasal vaccines, the CDC recommends waiting a month in between each dose. It'll take four months to get fully immunized. But if your child is getting shots, health officials say you can get the two vaccines together. But to minimize needle sticks, Dr. Hoffman says you can do both the nasal and the shot at the same time.

And let's face it, kids don't like shots.

"Don't lie to your kids. Don't tell them it will not hurt. It does hurt," said Dr. Hoffman.

Leslie Wilson says she tries to make flu shots a family affair.

"I would say to try and do it together," said Leslie. "We're going to Sean's doctor next week to try to have out shots done together."

Dr. Hoffman recommends taking Tylenol an hour before the shots. He also says that your child should move their arms immediately after the shots to minimize soreness.

"They got to do what's best for the kids," said parent Gus Covarrubias. "Sometimes it hurts the parents more than the kids, but we gotta do what we gotta do."

Pediatricians recommend bringing soap bubbles, video games or music to the doctor's office to distract kids from the inevitable. Also it might help to ask your doctor for a prescription for numbing cream that can be applied to the arm or leg before the visit.


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