Flu Mist is a nasal spray mist vaccine. FluMist contains three live viral flu
strains, which have been weakened. The flu shot, by contrast, is made using a
killed virus. After the weakened influenza viruses enter the nose, the body
develops an immune response that helps prevent the flu for the entire season.
FluMist is now approved for healthy children 2-17 years and healthy adults 18-49
years of age.
People who have a weak immune system or have chronic diseases like
asthma or diabetes or heart disease should not get FluMist. And like
most all medication, you should check with your healthcare provider
before receiving any flu vaccines. Per the approved packaging insert,
the following people should not receive the intranasal influenza
Adults 50 years of age or older, or children
younger than 5 years old.
Pregnant women should not receive FluMist.
The safety of FluMist in people with asthma or
other reactive airway diseases has not been established, and
therefore, is not recommended for use in patients with a history of
reactive airway problems.
Additionally, FluMist should not be given to
people with chronic underlying medical conditions that may
predispose them to severe flu infections. For these people, the
injected vaccine is indicated.
Individuals with egg allergies should not
receive this or any other flu vaccine without first consulting their
People who have health problems associated
with heart disease, kidney disease, lung disease, or metabolic
diseases such as diabetes, anemia and other blood disorders should
not receive FluMist.
Because Reye syndrome in children has been
associated with administration of aspirin during influenza virus
infections, FluMist is not recommended in children and adolescents
5-17 years of age if they are receiving aspirin or
Anyone with a history of Guillain Barré
Syndrome (GBS) should not receive FluMist.
FluMist recipients should avoid close contact
(e.g., within the same household) with anyone with a weakened immune
system for at least 21 days after receiving the vaccine.
FluMist should not be given for any reason to
people with immune suppression. This includes people with primary
immune deficiency diseases, as well as people with immune
deficiencies related to HIV infection, cancer, or other conditions,
and people who are being treated with drugs that cause
The vaccination with FluMist involves the administration of
attenuated (weakened) viruses into the nose by a nasal sprayer.
Some recipients will experience low-grade fever, upper respiratory
symptoms and muscle aches, but these are generally milder than when a
person has a symptomatic influenza infection. Although the vaccine
viruses are attenuated in healthy people, there is little information
regarding the use of FluMist in people with weakened or compromised
immune systems. People with weakened or compromised immune systems
should not receive FluMist.
The University of Maryland was one of the 10 centers involved in a
FluMist clinical trials from 1996 to 1998. The vaccine study enrolled
1,602 healthy children ranging in age from 15 months to 6 years. At the
University of Maryland Medical Center, 110 children took part in the
study. Two-thirds of the children received the nasal flu vaccine and one
third received a placebo. The study showed that nasal spray flu
vaccine effectively prevents the flu in children.
"This vaccine is a major breakthrough in the effort to immunize
children against flu without the fear and pain of a shot," said King,
who is a co-author of an article about the study. "Children who received
the vaccine had 93 percent fewer cases of influenza than the children
who received a placebo."