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FluMist vs. Flu Shot: Which Should I Get?

  • Flu Vaccination Basics

    Flu Vaccination Basics

    The influenza vaccine protects against the three or four
    strains of flu that are most likely to circulate during a particular year. It does
    not protect against other strains of flu that may be present. In the U.S., flu
    season generally runs from early October through late May. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease
    Control and Prevention (CDC), October is the best time to get a flu vaccine.
    You can still benefit from getting one later in the flu season.

  • Why Get Vaccinated?

    Why Get Vaccinated?

    The CDC
    says that in the U.S., over 200,000
    people are admitted to the hospital with flu each year, and thousands die from
    complications of flu. The CDC recommends flu
    vaccinations for most people six months of age or older. People at the highest risk
    of flu complications include the very young, senior citizens, and women who are
    pregnant. The flu vaccine can be administered as a nasal spray (brand name
    FluMist®) or as a shot.

  • About the Nasal Spray Vaccine

    About the Nasal Spray Vaccine

    The nasal spray vaccine is easily administered and offers an
    alternative for people who don’t like needles. This vaccine contains live
    viruses, but the viruses are weakened and have lost most of their
    disease-causing properties. It is extremely rare for the nasal spray to cause
    the flu. Most healthy people between the ages of two and 49 can safely take the
    nasal spray vaccine. The FDA has only approved inactive vaccines for people over age 50.

  • Who Shouldn’t Use the Nasal Spray?

    Who Shouldn’t Use the Nasal Spray?

    Be sure to check with your doctor before taking any
    vaccination. You shouldn’t take the nasal spray if you have a history of allergic
    reactions to eggs or other components of the vaccine, or adverse reactions to vaccines
    in general. The nasal spray is not recommended for children who take aspirin or
    for pregnant women. People with asthma, HIV, chronic diseases, or a compromised
    immune system should not take the nasal spray. Let your doctor know if you have
    Guillain-Barré Syndrome or have had it in the past.

  • Can the Nasal Spray Spread the Flu Virus?

    Can the Nasal Spray Spread the Flu Virus?

    In very rare cases, people who use the nasal spray flu
    vaccine can shed viruses and potentially pass them to unvaccinated people. No serious
    illnesses have resulted from flu transmission due to the nasal spray, according
    to the CDC. This
    type of transmission is more likely to occur if you come in close contact with
    a person who has a severely weakened immune system.

  • Side Effects of Nasal Spray Flu Vaccine

    Side Effects of Nasal Spray Flu Vaccine

    Side effects of the nasal spray vaccine for children may
    include runny nose, congestion, cough, and achiness. Children may also develop
    a slight fever. Adults may get a runny nose, headache, sore throat, cough,
    aches, and fatigue. There is always a small risk of an allergic reaction to
    vaccines. The nasal spray flu vaccine contains no thimerosal or other
    preservatives. Serious complications of flu vaccine are rare.

  • About the Flu Shot

    About the Flu Shot

    The flu shot is made with inactive flu virus and
    administered by needle into the upper arm. It causes your body to make
    antibodies to certain strains of the flu. It takes up to two weeks to be fully
    effective. You can get sick during that time if you are exposed to a flu virus.
    The flu shot is approved for use in most people over six months old, including many
    patients with chronic health conditions. The flu shot can cause minor, flu-like
    symptoms, but it cannot cause you to develop the flu or spread it to others.

  • Who Shouldn’t Get a Flu Shot?

    Who Shouldn’t Get a Flu Shot?

    The flu shot is safe for most people, even those with
    chronic diseases. However, if you have a chronic condition, it is wise to check
    with your doctor beforehand. You shouldn’t get the shot if you have a history
    of allergic reactions to flu vaccinations or eggs, or if you are running a
    fever. If you have this kind of history, or have ever had Guillain-Barré
    Syndrome, consult with your doctor before getting a flu shot.

  • Pros and Cons: Nasal Spray vs. Shot

    Pros and Cons: Nasal Spray vs. Shot

    Flu Nasal Spray: Easier
    administration, especially if you don’t like needles. Contains weakened live
    virus. Approved for healthy, non-pregnant people ages two to 49. Not
    recommended for people with chronic diseases, weakened immune systems, or for
    children on aspirin therapy.

    Flu Shot: One
    shot in the upper arm does it. Contains inactive virus. Approved for most
    people over six months old. Acceptable for pregnant women and most people with
    chronic diseases.

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References:

  • Flu shot: Your best bet for avoiding
    influenza. (2013, September 7). Mayo
    Clinic
    . Retrieved October 8, 2013, from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/flu-shots/ID00017
  • Live Attenuated Influenza Vaccine [LAIV] (The
    Nasal Spray Flu Vaccine). (2013, September 10). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved October 8,
    2013, from http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/qa/nasalspray.htm
  • Questions and Answers – FluMist Quadrivalent
    (Influenza Virus Vaccine Live, Intranasal). (2012, March 1). U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
    Retrieved October 24, 2013, from http://www.fda.gov/BiologicsBloodVaccines/Vaccines/ApprovedProducts/ucm294078.htm
  • Seasonal Influenza: Questions & Answers.
    (2013, September 20). Centers for Disease
    Control and Prevention
    . Retrieved October 24, 2013, from http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/qa/disease.htm
  • Should I Get a Flu Shot? (2013, August 12). American Cancer Society. Retrieved
    October 8, 2013, from http://www.cancer.org/treatment/treatmentsandsideeffects/physicalsideeffects/infectionsinpeoplewithcancer/seasonal-and-h1n1-flu-vaccine-information
  • Vaccination & Vaccine Safety. (n.d.). Flu.gov, U.S. Department of Health and Human
    Services.
    Retrieved October 8, 2013, from http://www.flu.gov/prevention-vaccination/vaccination
  • Vaccinations. (n.d.). National MS Society. Retrieved October 8, 2013, from http://www.nationalmssociety.org/living-with-multiple-sclerosis/healthy-living/vaccinations/index.aspx

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Posted by: Dr.Health

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