FluMist proven ineffective, CDC says

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SAN DIEGO — October typically marks the start of flu season.

This year, the actual flu shot may be your only option. It’s because the option of the flu mist vaccine nasal spray may not be available.

The popular FluMist nasal spray doesn’t hurt as much as a shot, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found it’s also less effective.

WellSpan Medical Group Associate Medical Director Dr. Mark Goedecker said “three percent of the children who received it under the age of eight were protected, so the other 97 percent were not protected.”

It’s why kids might feel a little more pain when they take a trip to the doctor’s office this year to fight the flu.

“I’m going through this with my children right now, they’re eight and ten. They’ve gotten the nasal flu [spray] for the past four or five years, I would say. I had to inform them the other night that they’re getting the shot this year,” Dr. Goedecker said.

Pediatricians may have a few tricks to make your child’s doctor visit a little less traumatic.

“Trying to just come up on them. If they start thinking about it, they get anxious about it. They really get upset, so it’s not talking about it ahead of time,” Dr. Goedecker said.

The odds of a flu shot preventing someone from getting the flu is currently much higher than relying on flu mist.

“When you think about giving 170 million doses of flu vaccine in this country, it protects, last year it was about 60 percent, but that’s still, if you do the numbers, about 80, 90 million people who were protected,”Dr. Goedecker said.

Many kids and even some adults don’t like shots, but doctors believe putting on a brave face could save a life.

“A few years ago we almost had 350 kids die of influenza in the United States, so you see numbers like that and say gosh, it’s so important to protect the kids, so that little bit of pain is worth that protection, if you’re a parent or a child,” Dr. Goedecker said.

Dr. Goedecker doesn’t believe the CDC wants to completely wipe out flu mist.

He said it will work with the manufacturer to make it more effective, so it could it’s use could return sometime in the future.

A 73-year-old woman died of complications from influenza in San Diego last week.

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