Monday, December 18

Flu Mist Vs. Flu Shots

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The vaccination will prevent the disease on those who receive the vaccine and they need to repeat the dose in the next year to be protected for that particular season. In the early days, the only vaccination available was the ‘flu shot’ which is an injectable form of the vaccine. Later on, in 2003, the ‘Flu mist’ vaccine was introduced to the market and this was a nasal spray which does the same thing that is done by the ‘Flu shot’ by means of a different antigenic response.

What are the differences in ‘flu mist’ and ‘flu shot’?

Flu mist – This is a vaccine given as a nasal spray and contains the inactivated live influenza virus. The vaccine is relatively expensive than the ‘flu shot’ although it is much more convenient than giving an injection which will be discomforting to the child. The ‘flu mist’ vaccine is not recommended for all individuals, but only for a selected group. 

Flu shot – This is the injectable form of the vaccine which only contains a killed virus rather than the live virus in the ‘flu mist’. It is relatively cheap and is widely available. The vaccine can be given to any individual who is required to take the influenza vaccine. The ‘flu shot’ usually contains the preservative, thimerosal which is being linked with illnesses in the childhood. But, a thimerosal free injection is also available in USA although it may not be available as frequently as the previous category.

Who are the recommended groups that can and cannot take ‘flu mist’?

The ‘flu mist’ is recommended for all children and adults between the ages of 2 to 50 years of age, excluding the following.

*Pregnant mothers

*Children below the age of 2 years

*Adults over the age of 50 years

*Children with chronic illnesses such as asthma, chronic lung disease, chronic heart disease, diabetes and other such illnesses.

*Children below the age of 5 years with recurrent asthma

*Children who are taking aspirin as a medication

What are the advantages of receiving the ‘flu mist’?

Children will be more cooperative when receiving a ‘spray’ rather than receiving a ‘flu shot’. It doesn’t contain thimerosal which is thought to be linked with certain childhood medical conditions. It won’t give rise to local reactions such as swelling, redness and tenderness. Some researchers have shown it to be more effective against the vaccinations which uses the killed form of the influenza virus.

What are the advantages of receiving the flu shot?

Flu shots are widely available with less chances of nasal congestion as do with the ‘flu mist’ spray. It can be safely given to a larger population without restricting to a certain group of individuals. Furthermore, the flu shot will be significantly cheaper than the ‘flu mist’.

What should you choose?

First of all, you should know the eligibility to receive the vaccine by a certain individual. The age and the associated medical conditions should be cleared. Then the availability and the affordability of the vaccine should be considered. Once decided, further pros and cons should be assessed on the advice given by your health care provider.


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