Debra Wood, RN and Rebecca J. Stahl, MA
The flu strikes many people each year, and one of the best ways to prevent the flu is getting vaccinated. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that all people older than six months get vaccinated against influenza. Two types of vaccines exist. One type is the flu shot vaccine and the other type is the nasal spray flu vaccine called FluMist.
The traditional flu shot is made with an inactivated or killed virus, which stimulates the body’s immune system to fight off the flu bug.
The FluMist vaccine, on the other hand, is made with a modified live virus. The body builds up immunity as the virus reproduces in the nasal passages.
FluMist was developed with healthy adults and children in mind. It is safe and effective for healthy people aged 2-49 years old.
FluMist is not recommended for:
Before getting the nasal spray vaccine, talk to your doctor if you:
While the nasal spray does contain a modified flu virus, it will not cause you to get the flu. FluMist, though, may cause some mild side effects, such as:
Life-threatening allergic reactions are a rare side effect.
Ask your doctor which vaccine is best for you and your loved ones. Don’t wait until the flu is in high gear! Make the move to protect yourself. Remember that it takes about two weeks for the FluMist to protect your body. But the vaccine will last for about a year.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Canadian Association of Family Physicians
Canadian Public Health
Baker CJ, Pickerling LK, Chilton L, et al; Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. Recommended adult immunization schedule: United States, 2011. Ann Intern Med. 2011;154(3):168-173.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Recommended immunization schedules for persons aged 0-18 years —United States, 2011. MMWR 2011;60(5).
FluMist. FluMist website. Available at: http://www.flumist.com/. Accessed May 31, 2012.
Live, intranasal influenza 2011-12. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/vis/downloads/vis-flulive.pdf. Updated July 26, 2011. Accessed May 31, 2012.
Last reviewed May 2012 by Brian Randall, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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