Children’s Flu Nasal Spray – What to expect at your appointment and side effects

Last week Violet had her NHS Children’s Nasal Flu Spray and up until the day of the appointment, I realised I had very little idea what to expect. I also suddenly realised this was the first time I was taking Violet for an appointment now she is on the cusp of three, therefore very aware of what is going on around her so I was going to have to explain it too. So, I thought I’d write about our experience. If you have yours coming up and you aren’t sure what to expect or how to handle it with your toddler, hopefully, this will help!


I didn’t talk about going to the doctor until the day before and when I introduced the idea to Violet she was so excited! She’s learned a lot about the Doctors through books and role-play activities at nursery so she had a good idea of what to expect in a positive way, she wasn’t scared at all, although she did keep saying we were off to the Dentist!

She found the concept of medicine hard to understand so I said they were going to put magic on her nose to make her feel all better. She was so excited she kept telling me and other people that she was going to get magic put on her nose!


At our appointment, I was asked if Violet had any allergies, specifically to egg – this was interesting as I’d not seen this mentioned anywhere beforehand so I feel if your child was allergic to egg it would be good to know before you got all the way to the appointment and were refused treatment. Luckily, she has no allergies so we went ahead. As I sat on the chair with Violet on my lap, the nurse asked me to cuddle her and tip her slightly back. She was calm all the time intrigued as to what the nurse was doing.

The Flu Nasal Spray itself is just a little bottle that is sprayed into both nostrils. I told the nurse she has been told we were putting magic on her nose, to which she very matter-of-factly said to Violet, “it’s medicine we’ll be putting up your nose” – I thought this was a bit of a shame as Violet’s only two so saying “magic” was more understandable for her at the moment. As her understanding grows we will, of course, introduce the correct terminology. Plus, medicine is a little like magic sometimes!

The procedure was super quick, one nostril done without a flinch, then the next. Violet looked a little shaken like her brain was trying to catch up with what had just happened, her eyes watered just slightly and her lip quivered like she was holding back a cry but we were distracted by packing up and leaving the Doctors surgery, plus I packed a couple of chocolate coins left over from Christmas which took her mind from it all for sure.


The appointment itself was over quicker than it took me to get to the Dr’s surgery, park and set Pearl up in the buggy – it was really quick and easy. I’d certainly worried unnecessarily.

After the appointment Violet had no immediate side effects that evening but was very restless during the night – the nurse warned she may get a temperature but luckily Violet managed to avoid that, however she has had a streaming cold for around a week since the appointment. Being winter and as she goes to nursery it’s impossible to pin down where she got it from, but it could be a mild side effect as the vaccine is live it can cause cold symptoms. It’s not hindered our activities for the week, but she has been a little more tired than usual with a lesser appetite too.

I hope that if your little one is booked in for their Nasal Flu Spray this puts your mind at rest! We’ve had a few mild side effects but it’s all worth it to help prevent Violet from getting the flu.

More more information please see the NHS advice here.


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Photo credit: Nicola Jackson Photography

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