Tips for the Flu Shot

September 20, 2018
Tips for the Flu Shot

Flu season is coming soon, so make sure that you and your child (6 months or older) get the flu vaccine! The vaccine is available at your pediatrician’s office, clinics, health departments, some pharmacies and even some workplaces.  

We know from personal and professional experience that getting the flu shot is an important, but often uncomfortable, task.

Here are our tips to make the experience easier:

1. Tell the Truth

Saying “This will hurt for a minute, but soon it will be all done and we can go home” is a good way to tell your child what to expect and acknowledge that they will feel pain.

2. Be Present

Having your child sit in your lap can make them feel calm and secure. If they are bigger, holding your hand or facing you (instead of the doctor) can also help. Some children also benefit from a distraction: help them count the tiles on the floor or ask about their favorite superhero.

3. Stay Calm

Many adults are scared of shots or needles, but children look to you to see how they should react. Try to keep your expression relaxed – your confidence will show that the shot is important and the doctor is a safe and trusted person.

4. Reward with Praise

“All done! I am so proud of how you stayed calm. You did a great job sitting still and listening to the doctor!”  Make this praise even more powerful by adding a hug or high five.

5. Wait and Watch

Try to avoid using acetaminophen ibuprofen after vaccines, as new studies show it may lessen the effectiveness of the immune response. Use ice for any local discomfort.

For more tips on how to handle a visit to the pediatrician, see here.


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