Pediatrician group advises against needle-free flu shots

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The American Academy of Pediatrics is no longer recommending needle-free flu shots, citing their ineffectiveness.

The nation's largest pediatrician group is advising against a needle-free flu shot, which was a great sell for children afraid of needles.

Based on research, the American Academy of Pediatrics said they're not recommending use of the nasal spray flu vaccine because of it's ineffective. The group said it shouldn't be used in the upcoming flu season.

Urgent care physician Dr. Anthony Cardillo with Glendale Adventist Medical Center said studies show the injectable form offers better results.

In June, the Centers for Disease Control revealed the nasal spray vaccine's effectiveness among children aged 2 to 17 was 3 percent from 2015 to 2016, compared with 63 percent for the injected vaccine.

Another option for those squeamish about needles is the intradermal shot. However, it's only approved for people 18 to 64 years old and not widely available.

The much shorter needle only penetrates the skin. Many doctors prefer the conventional needle when it comes to flu shots.

"We are trying to evaluate now if going into the skin as opposed to the muscle gives you the same response," Cardillo explained.

The good news for kids? Flu shots designed for the pediatric population do not use the same sized needles as adults.

"For small children, they do the smaller needles," Cardillo said. "It doesn't have to be as deep because the muscle is closer to the skin, but it still has to be the intramuscular injection."

Pediatricians offered this advice to parents: Explain to older children how serious flu symptoms can be and remind them that the vaccine and proper hand washing are the best weapons we have against the flu.

As for younger children who absolutely hate shots, one doctor suggested that you don't let them know they're getting a shot until the last second.
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healthhealthy livingfluflu seasonhealth careflu prevention
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