What are the Benefits of the Flu Vaccine Nasal Spray?

M.C. Huguelet

The flu vaccine nasal spray is an inoculation which is administered via atomizer into the nasal passages to reduce the chances of infection by the influenza virus. This vaccine provides an alternative to the tradition flu vaccine shot, and it possesses several potential benefits. The flu vaccine nasal spray does not involve needles, and some evidence suggests that in children, it may provide better protection against influenza than a flu vaccine shot. In addition, it is widely available to the public in a growing number of countries. It should be noted that the flu vaccine nasal spray also has some potentially negative aspects, including an age limit and the possibility of side effects.

A flu vaccine in the form of a nasal spray is becoming more available in the Canada, India, and the U.S.
A flu vaccine in the form of a nasal spray is becoming more available in the Canada, India, and the U.S.

One benefit of the flu vaccine nasal spray is particularly appreciated by parents of young children and those wary of or sensitive to shots: it is administered without the use of a needle. Instead, it is sprayed into the nasal passages, allowing children and those with needle phobias to become inoculated without the fear and discomfort often associated with a traditional vaccination. Additionally, this lack of needles means that the flu vaccine nasal spray does not cause bruising or lingering soreness at the vaccination site.

The flu vaccine nasal spray is an inoculation option for individuals who are averse to needles.
The flu vaccine nasal spray is an inoculation option for individuals who are averse to needles.

Further, medical research suggests that the flu vaccine nasal spray may provide better protection against influenza infection among children than the flu shot. It should be noted, however, that as of 2010, this evidence is not yet considered conclusive. In addition, studies show that in adults, the flu shot may perform as well as or better than the nasal spray.

The flu vaccine nasal spray may cause a mild initial infection of the nasal passages in some individuals.
The flu vaccine nasal spray may cause a mild initial infection of the nasal passages in some individuals.

Another benefit of the flu vaccine nasal spray is its growing availability. As of 2010, the vaccine is in use at doctors’ offices and pharmacies in countries such as the US, Canada, and India, and may soon be available in Europe. Since yearly supplies are usually finite, however, it is recommended that those who wish to receive the vaccine do so shortly after it has become available each year, usually around the month of October.

The flu vaccine nasal spray is available for those between the ages of 2 and 49 years, but many receive the inactivated injectable vaccine instead.
The flu vaccine nasal spray is available for those between the ages of 2 and 49 years, but many receive the inactivated injectable vaccine instead.

It should be noted that the flu vaccine nasal spray has some potential drawbacks. First of all, it is recommended for use only in those between the ages of 2 and 49, and cannot be given to pregnant women or those with severe immune system disorders. Secondly, unlike the traditional flu shot, the nasal vaccine contains a live but scientifically weakened form of the influenza virus. As a result, the vaccine causes a mild initial infection of the nasal passages in some individuals, resulting in symptoms like congestion or runny nose.

Pregnant women and those with immune systems problems are advised to get flu vaccine injections and not the nasal spray vaccine.
Pregnant women and those with immune systems problems are advised to get flu vaccine injections and not the nasal spray vaccine.
Some evidence indicates that the flu vaccine nasal spray may provide better protection for children than the flu shot.
Some evidence indicates that the flu vaccine nasal spray may provide better protection for children than the flu shot.
Each flu season, companies that manufacture vaccines determine which flu strains are most likely to affect large numbers of people.
Each flu season, companies that manufacture vaccines determine which flu strains are most likely to affect large numbers of people.

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Discussion Comments

Spotiche5

@heavanet- I have been getting the flu vaccine nasal spray for years, and I have found that the protection from the flu that is provides is excellent. I have never contracted the flu or a severe upper respiratory issue since I have been getting this flu preventative.

I have also never had severe side effects after the nasal spray flu vaccine. I think the fear of having these issues is worse than the actual symptoms that occur.

Rundocuri

@heavanet- I have had both the nasal spray flu vaccine and the shot version, and I think the symptoms following the nasal spray are more severe. However, they are easily managed with rest and plenty of fluids.

A tip for preventing the symptoms that follow the flu nasal spray is to eat a healthy diet and drink plenty of orange juice before you get it.

Heavanet

Does anyone have experience getting the flue vaccine nasal spray? I was wondering how severe the initial nasal symptoms are, and if they are worth the protection the shot provides.

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