Flumist nasal spray no longer an option: A flu vaccine Q&A with pediatrician Dr. Gowan

Boy getting a flu shot

Ask any doctor what is the best way for you and your children to avoid the flu this season and they’ll give you a simple answer: Get a flu vaccination.

Still, there are rumors and misinformation that can leave a parent concerned or unsure of the facts about the safety or necessity of vaccine.

We asked Dr. Jesspreet Gowan of Stanford Children’s Health’s Pediatric Associates a few common questions on this topic.

What is the most effective method for getting your child vaccinated?

Dr. Gowan: Preliminary data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that the Flumist was only 3% effective at preventing flu in the 2015-2016 flu season. By comparison, the flu shot was 63% effective at preventing flu. This year the Flumist will not be available as an option for flu vaccination given how ineffective it was at preventing the flu last year. The flu shot will still be available and is encouraged for all children over the age of 6 months.

Of course, watching your child get a shot isn’t easy. It’s even harder if you have fears or concerns about the safety or necessity of the vaccine.

Can you get sick from the flu shot itself?

Dr. Gowan: No. Don’t believe the rumor that a flu shot can give you even a mild case of influenza. Some people may experience a few side effects—such as soreness or redness at the site of injection or low fever. But these are much less severe than the actual flu.

How do I know if my child has the flu?

Dr. Gowan: Symptoms of flu include fever, chills and body shakes, achy sore muscles, fatigue, headache, congestion, persistent coughing, and possibly abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhea. Flu can last one week or longer in an unvaccinated child.

When is the best time to get the shot?

Dr. Gowan: Seasonal influenza—the flu—is caused by one of several strains of influenza viruses (type A or B) that infect the nose, throat and lungs. According to the CDC, flu season can begin as early as October and peak anywhere from late December to early April. Given that Flumist will not be offered in most offices, there may be a shortage of flu shot vaccines so I recommend vaccinating children as soon as possible.

For more information on preventing flu this season, see the recent segment featuring Yvonne Maldonado, MD, from the Bay Area Fox affiliate, KTVU.

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One Response to “Flumist nasal spray no longer an option: A flu vaccine Q&A with pediatrician Dr. Gowan”

  1. Ellis Sutton

    Totally amazing that doctors don’t know what causes the flu. Gabriel Cousens may be the only md that does. For one thing, the flu is not contagious. The trigger is, yes, but the flu itsself is not. I never get the flu, or a cold, even if I’m in a roomful of people that do. The deal is to be clean inside, primarily not having any mucus. Colds and the flu are cleansing mechanisms to rid our body of mucus. If you have a whole lot of mucus then you may even get a fever, which melts mucus so it can come out our pores. Colds and the flu, as well as hay fever, are directly related to poor diet. Read Cousens, David Wolfe and Arnold Sheet.

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