Flu shot or nasal spray?

Fact Checked

The flu vaccine provides protection against 3-4 strains of flu that are likely to spread during a particular time of the year. This does not protect against other strains of flu though.

Why vaccination is important?

Many individuals acquire the flu every year and some die from complications. The flu vaccine is recommended for children 6 months of age or older. Those who face the highest risk for complications include young children, elderly and pregnant women. The flu vaccine can be administered as a shot or nasal spray.

How nasal spray vaccine works

The nasal spray vaccine is readily administered and serves as an alternative for those who do not like needles. Take note that this vaccine contains live viruses that are weakened and lost their disease-causing properties. Those between 2-49 years can safely use the nasal spray vaccine.

Flu shot
The flu shot is created with inactive flu virus and given using a needle into the upper arm.

When nasal spray is not recommended

It is important to consult with a doctor first before taking any vaccination. The nasal spray form is not advisable for those who have a history of allergic reactions to eggs or other components in the vaccine or had previous allergic reactions to vaccines in general. By enrolling in a first aid class, you can readily manage one.

The nasal spray is not recommended for children who are using aspirin or pregnant women. Individuals who have HIV, asthma, chronic diseases or a weakened immune system must not use the nasal spray. A doctor should be informed if the individual has Guillain-Barre syndrome or had it in the past.

Side effects of nasal spray vaccine

The side effects of the nasal spray vaccine among children include congestion, runny nose, achiness and cough. In some cases, slight fever can develop. As for adults, they can experience a sore throat, runny nose, headache, fatigue, cough and aches. Take note that there is a minimal risk of an allergic reaction to vaccines to occur. The nasal spray does not contain thimerosal or other preservatives while serious complications are rare.

What is the flu shot?

The flu shot is created with inactive flu virus and given using a needle into the upper arm. This will initiate the body to produce antibodies to certain strains of flu. This can take up to 2 weeks to be fully effective where the individual might get sick during this period if exposed to the flu virus. The flu shot is recommended for children 6 months old including those who have chronic health issues.

When flu shot is not recommended

It is important to note that the flu shot is safe even for those who have chronic health issues. Nevertheless, if an individual has a chronic condition, it is best to consult a doctor first. The flu shot is not ideal for those who have previous allergic reactions to eggs or flu vaccinations or currently has fever. If the individual previously had Guillain-Barre syndrome, a doctor must be consulted first.

Flu shot versus nasal spray

The nasal spray vaccine allows easy administration especially those who do not like needles. This form of the flu vaccine is suitable for non-pregnant, healthy individuals between 2-49 years old. This is not recommended for those who have weakened immune systems, have chronic diseases or children on aspirin therapy.

The flu shot is administered in the upper arm and contains inactive viruses. This form is recommended for children at 6 months old, pregnant women and those who have chronic diseases.

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