November 3, 2016

Fear of the Flu Shot? How to Make It As Painless As Possible for Your Kid

By Jordyn Coalson, Child Life Specialist

While this season offers some of our favorite holiday activities, we also realize it welcomes the less desired cold and flu bugs into your home. In an attempt to keep your family’s health and sanity at the highest levels, we have compiled a list of ways to make this flu season as painless as possible. From tips for a successful flu shot to simple at-home activities, the staff at Mission Hospital Child Life has you covered if you find yourselves under the weather.

Did you know… The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have both withdrawn their recommendations for using the popular FluMist to protect your child against the flu. Research has shown it has not proven effective in previous years, and the flu shot is now the recommended go-to for prevention. We understand that families have grown to love the convenience and less invasive nature of the FluMist, so here are some tips on making your child’s flu shot a positive experience for everyone:

  • Always explain the importance of getting the flu shot to your child. If they understand that it keeps them healthy and feeling good, they are more likely to get on board with the idea.
  • Use medical role-play to help your child know what to expect. Let your child pretend to be the doctor and give you or a beloved stuffed animal a “shot.” Medical play can reveal feelings about what is making your child feel fearful, so that you can address the issues head on with a coping plan.
  • Speaking of coping plans… have one. Have a couple of them. Sit down with your child before their shot and talk about distractions that could make it easier for them. Bring a lovey, blow bubbles, offer a comforting hold or squeeze play dough to ease the pain. Whatever works for you and your child.
  • Be positive and honest. Your child knows that shots are painful from experience. Remind them that while pokes hurt for a moment, this pain goes away quickly.

Visit to learn more about treatment options for the flu or other conditions.
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