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Flu season is never fun, but the news that the CDC has decided not to recommend the nasal flu mist version of the flu vaccine this year is making the prospect of flu season even gloomier than usual.

Kenosha Meijer pharmacist Josh Haas explained, "The CDC found the nasal mist was only 3% effective last year. They're not exactly sure why yet, but in order to keep people as healthy as possible, only the injectable vaccine is available this year, which in most years is 50-70% effective."

But health professionals are keeping a positive outlook, trying to spread the word that even though the nasal mist isn't available this year, there are ways to make the injection more palatable for kids. Here's Haas' advice:

Multi-tasking is the way to go -- Lots of grocery store pharmacies, including Meijer, don't require appointments, and Haas says that even during the busiest times, it's rarely more than a ten-minute wait to get your flu shot. "If you know you're already going to be shopping, make it a one-stop experience."

Stick with Mom or Dad -- Haas says that one of the best ways to comfort a child who has to get a shot is to let him sit in his mom or dad's lap. "It provides a whole extra layer of comfort for the child, and you don't always think about it when you get the shot in the doctors office setting. That's one great thing about doing it in the pharmacy."

Built-in Rewards -- Most parents aren't above a little bit of bribery when their child is faced with the prospect of the injection needle, and when you get the flu shot in a store, you have a veritable treat wonderland right at your fingertips! It can make it much easier for a kid to sit through the brief pain of the shot when she knows that her favorite candy is waiting for her in aisle seven! Haas also notes that the Kenosha Meijer pharmacy has its own stash of candy for its brave flu shot champs, and that there's even a coin-operated pony ride in the store that only costs a penny.

Of course, there are a few special considerations to think about when preparing to get the flu shot.

  • See what your insurance covers before heading out.
  • Pharmacies like the one at Meijer are very convenient for older kids and adults, but they do not give flu shots to kids under age 6.
  • People with severe egg allergies have long had to take more caution when getting the flu shot because the standard flu vaccine is cultured in egg. However, Haas says that there's a version of flu vaccine that is egg-free, and if you call the pharmacy ahead of time, it can be special ordered for your egg-allergic child.
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