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The New York Times: A Flu Season Without FluMist?

Making shots less painful for children

This flu season, many children who were expecting drops in their nostrils are going to get needles in their arms instead.

That's because a federal health committee decided that nasal flu vaccine (the brand name is FluMist) should no longer be used because it has been less effective in protecting people the past couple of flu seasons. For the first time since FluMist was introduced 13 years ago, everyone is supposed to get the shot.

On hearing this news, some children will shrug and roll up their sleeves. But others will burst into tears at the thought.

Turns out, there's a lot of research on what makes immunzations less painful - and what helps children handle them without too much distress.

"Simple things like breast-feeding or sugar water for kids younger than one have been really shown to be pretty powerful in terms of reducing pain," said Mark Connelly, pedatric psychologist at Children's Mercy.

For older children, he said, you want something that actively engages the child's attention, whether it's reading a book, spinning a pinwheel or blowing bubbles. "Something that changes what they're attending to is enough to change what the brain does, so the child doesn't feel it in the same way."


Read the full story via The New York Times.

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