No more tears with flu prevention

Jessica Sands, an East York resident, recently took her three young children for influenza shots, but there were no needles involved. And no tears.

“This is the first year … none of my baby girls cried after getting their vaccine,” she said.

That’s because the children received the serum via nasal spray. This year, an anti-flue nasal spray is available for children aged two to 17 and will provide protection against the H1N1, H3N2, Massachusetts and Brisbane flu strains.

And independent pharmacist Hubert Bennet explained that this year this type of vaccine administration will eliminate the fear and pain typically associated with the flu shot.

“No one enjoys getting their flu shot and this is especially true for children,” Bennet said. “The spray will hopefully make the experience no longer frightening for kids and also takes away the pain factor.”

The spray is squirted into each nostril of the child by pharmacists and while still uncomfortable it is, to some, a less intrusive means of vaccination. Bennet added that the painless nasal application has an added benefit.

“By taking away the fear of needles, the hope is that more parents will bring their children to get the vaccination,” he said. “The importance of getting your vaccination cannot be stressed enough.”

Some parents are already considering the spray a definitive success.

“I couldn’t be happier,” parent Jessica Sands said.

Parents will still have the option for their children to get the shot instead of the spray. Adults can opt for the spray as well but will have to pay for the service as opposed to the free flu shot. The adult flu shot will provide protection against three strains of the flu virus.