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Flu Shot or Nasal Spray: Which is Best for You?


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 80,000 Americans died of influenza and its complications during the 2017-18 season.  This is the highest death toll from the flu in the last FOUR decades. When it comes to the flu vaccine, the question for almost everyone shouldn't be if you should get it, but when.  Ideally, early October is best, but you can still receive a flu shot well into spring.

Traditionally there have been two options: the flu shot and the nasal spray FluMist. You may have heard that the nasal spray wasn’t recommended last season, however, the FluMist is back for the 2018 flu season after a two year absence from the market.

What’s the Difference Between the Flu Shot vs. FluMist?

  • A shot vs. a nasal mist:

The flu shot is an injection in the arm of an adult or the leg of a child under the age of three. The FluMist is a nasal spray that is inhaled through the nose.  Since the FluMist doesn’t involve a needle, it is a popular choice for parents with squeamish children.

  • Inactive vs. live:

All flu shots are inactivated and made of particles of the virus that are not biologically alive. The FluMist is a live virus that has been altered so it replicates in the nose but doesn’t cause disease.

  • Age restrictions:

The flu shot is appropriate for anyone 6 months or older. The FluMist is limited to people 2 to 49 years old.

So which is recommended for you and your family?

Though the CDC has approved used of the Flu Mist this year, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) issued revised flu vaccination recommendations, which say children ages 6 months and older should get the flu shot and Flu Mist should be used only as a last resort (as there are lingering uncertainties over how effective the spray will be).

CareWell has flu vaccinations ready for your family — we’re open seven days a week with no appointment needed.

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