If you've spent hours at the pediatrician trying to ensure your child receives all his or her necessary vaccines, the thought of pursuing a flu shot may be an exhausting one. However, the prospect of taking care of a flu-riddled child, or having immuno-compromised members of your family or household exposed to the flu virus because your child is unvaccinated, can be unpleasant as well. What are your options if you want to avoid illness and your child's hysteria at the prospect of being injected? Read on for some of your options if you feel the flu vaccine just isn't an option for your young one this year.
Hone your germ-fighting skills
Even for families that do get the flu shot, improving personal hygiene can be the gift that keeps on giving. This is especially true during cold and flu season, where cold temperatures can depress immune systems and close quarters can provide the perfect breeding ground for viruses and bacteria. If your child attends public school or daycare, he or she may spend each day in a veritable petri dish of germs, making it difficult to stay consistently healthy.
By keeping hand sanitizer ready, encouraging your children and their friends to do the "vampire cough" into the crook of their elbow rather than coughing or sneezing directly into their open hands, and sticking to a healthy diet that includes plenty of Vitamin C and other antioxidants, your household will be well-equipped to battle cold and flu germs, no matter the source. You'll also want to ensure your child knows not to share food, drinking bottles or cups, and other utensils with his or her peers, as this can be a quick path to illness even if your child's friend doesn't seem sick.
Ask for the nasal version
Many pharmacies are equipped with a nasal flu mist, designed to provide the same level of protection as the flu vaccine without the need for needles. Although this mist relies on a live virus, rather than the dead one used to create the vaccine, it poses no extra flu risk for the patient. However, the nasal flu mist may not be quite as effective against every strain the vaccine protects against, so it's still important to exercise good hygiene habits even after this mist has been used. If your local pharmacy doesn't have any doses of this nasal mist, it may be worthwhile to call around to see if others in the area have some doses to spare.