Preparing for flu season

CDC, pediatrics group discourages use of nasal spray flu vaccine

By Ashton Miller

boyFlu season is right around the corner, and health officials are cautioning parents about a change to the way children should be vaccinated.

In June, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention panel released its recommendation that the nasal spray flu vaccine, most commonly called FluMist, should not be used during the 2016-2017 flu season.

“The CDC has recently come out with evidence that the nasal form of the flu vaccine is not as effective as they would like,” said Dr. Alexander Janovski of Novant Health Ballantyne Pediatrics. “Therefore, we follow its guidance and recommend the injected form of the vaccine over the nasal spray.”

According to CDC reports, FluMist was only 3 percent effective during the 2015-2016 flu season, whereas flu shots were reported to be 63 percent effective.

And, in September, the American Academy of Pediatrics joined the CDC and recommended children over 6 months old receive the flu shot rather than needle-free FluMist.

Janovski said the flu shot is recommended for all children over 6 months old, but especially for those children with asthma and diabetes. Flu outbreaks can occur as early as October and as late as May.

To protect yourself and your family from the flu this year, call today to schedule a flu shot with your primary care provider for your loved one or yourself. If you don’t have a primary care provider, find a Novant Health provider online.

Flu shots are also available at Novant Health Express care and urgent care clinics.