- Flu Slideshow: 10 Foods to Eat When You Have the Flu
- Natural Cold & Flu Remedies Slideshow
- Take the Cold & Flu Quiz
- What is influenza nasal vaccine, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?
- What brand names are available for influenza nasal vaccine?
- Is influenza nasal vaccine available as a generic drug?
- Do I need a prescription for influenza nasal vaccine?
- What are the side effects of influenza nasal vaccine?
- What is the dosage for influenza nasal vaccine?
- Which drugs or supplements interact with influenza nasal vaccine?
- Is influenza nasal vaccine safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
- What else should I know about influenza nasal vaccine?
What is influenza nasal vaccine, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?
FluMist is a nasal vaccine that protects against infection with the influenza virus or the "flu." FluMist contains live influenza virus that has been weakened so that it causes minimal or no symptoms. When FluMist is inhaled, the body responds to the weakened viruses in FluMist by developing antibodies that fight influenza viruses. These antibodies protect against later infections by the naturally-occurring influenza virus.
FluMist is effective only against the strains of influenza virus that are included in it, and the strains of virus change from year to year. FluMist has no effect on the flu once infection has begun. FluMist should be given shortly before the flu season begins to allow time for antibodies to be produced and for protection throughout the entire flu season.
FluMist and FluMist Quadrivalent are similar except for the addition of one additional virus strain to Flumist Quadrivalent. FluMist is a trivalent vaccine because it has three flu virus strains (two type A viruses and one B type) and FluMist Quadrivalent has four virus strains (two A type and two B types).
The FDA approved FluMist in June 2003 and FluMist Quadrivalent in February 2012.
What are the side effects of influenza nasal vaccine?
The most common side effects of FluMist are:
- runny nose,
- nasal congestion,
- sore throat,
- muscle aches,
- tiredness or weakness,
- chills, and
Other important side effects includes:
Hypersensitivity reactions also have been reported.
What is the dosage for influenza nasal vaccine?
- Children 2 to 8 years of age who have not previously received FluMist should be given 2 doses of 0.2 ml at least one month apart.
- Children 2 to 8 years of age, who previously received FluMist and adults 9 to 49 years of age, should be given 1 dose (0.2 ml) of FluMist each season.
- FluMist is administered by inhaling through the nose while standing or sitting in an upright position. FluMist is not administered by injection.
Since FluMist contains viruses that are likely to cause the flu in the upcoming season, FluMist developed for previous seasons will not be effective and should not be used.
Which drugs or supplements interact with influenza nasal vaccine?
Children 5 to 17 years of age who are receiving aspirin therapy should not be given FluMist because of the association between aspirin, influenza infection, and Reye's syndrome, a serious disease of the liver.
Use of FluMist together with antiviral drugs that are active against the influenza virus has not been evaluated. Since there is a potential for antiviral drugs to reduce the effectiveness of FluMist (by preventing infection with the weakened viruses in FluMist), antiviral drugs should not be administered until 2 weeks after FluMist therapy, and FluMist should not be administered until 48 hours after antiviral therapy is discontinued.
Administering FluMist with inactivated virus vaccines was not evaluated in FluMist clinical trials, and combining FluMist with other intranasal products has not been evaluated. FluMist did not interfere with, and was not affected by measles, mumps, rubella, or varicella live vaccines.
Is influenza nasal vaccine safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
FluMist should not be given to pregnant women.
Use of FluMist during breastfeeding has not been adequately evaluated, and it is not known whether FluMist is excreted in breast milk.Medically reviewed by Eni Williams, PharmD
What else should I know about influenza nasal vaccine?
What preparations of influenza nasal vaccine are available?
Intranasal Spray: prefilled single use intranasal spray, 0.2 ml
How should I keep influenza nasal vaccine stored?
FluMist should be stored refrigerated between 2 C to 8 C (35 F to 46 F).
Latest Cold and Flu News
Influenza vaccine live, intranasal (generic names); FluMist, FluMist Quadrivalent (brand names) is a nasal vaccine prescribed to protect against infection with the influenza virus which causes "flu." FluMist contains live influenza virus that has been weakened, to cause minimal to no flu symptoms. Influenza strains change from year to year, so a new influenza vaccine must be created annually to protect against the new strain of influenza viruses. FluMist is administered shortly before the flu season begins. FluMist contains three flu virus strains (two type A viruses and one type B virus). FluMist quadrivalent has four virus strains (two type A viruses and two type B viruses). FluMist and FluMist Quadrivalent do not prevent 2009 H1N1 (swine flu) viral infection. FluMist is prescribed to prevent influenza viral infections in people between the ages of 2 to 49 years. Side effects, drug interactions, dosage, and pregnancy safety information should be reviewed with your doctor prior to taking FluMist or FluMist Quadrivalent.
Multimedia: Slideshows, Images & Quizzes
Cold & Flu Quiz: Influenza vs. Common Cold
Aches? Pain? Fever? This Cold & Flu Quiz tests your knowledge on the difference between coming down with the common cold and...
Picture of Influenza Virus
The flu is caused by viruses that infect the respiratory tract which are divided into three types, designated A, B, and C. See a...
Related Disease Conditions
Second Source article from Government
Influenza (flu) is a respiratory illness caused by a virus. Flu symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, headache, fatigue, and muscle aches. The flu may be prevented with an annual influenza vaccination.
Cold, Flu, Allergy Treatments
Before treating a cold, the flu, or allergies with over-the-counter (OTC) medications, it's important to know what's causing the symptoms, which symptoms one wishes to relieve, and the active ingredients in the OTC product. Taking products that only contain the medications needed for relieving your symptoms prevents ingestion of unnecessary medications and reduces the chances of side effects.
Norovirus infection causes stomach flu, or gastroenteritis. It's a very contagious illness with symptoms that include nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, stomach cramps, fever, headache, chills, and muscle aches. Norovirus infection cannot be treated with antibiotics, so treatment focuses on maintaining proper hydration.
Bird Flu (Avian Influenza, Avian Flu)
Bird flu (avian flu, avian influenza) infection in humans may result from contact with infected poultry. There is a vaccine to prevent human infection with the H5N1 strain of the avian flu virus.
Novel H1N1 influenza A virus infection (swine flu) is an infection that generally is transferred from an infected pig to a human, however there have been reported cases where infection has occured with no contact with infected pigs. Symptoms of swine flu are "flu-like" and include fever, cough, and sore throat. Treatment is generally with the antibiotics oseltamivir (Tamiflu) or zanamivir (Relenza).
Pregnancy: Swine Flu and the H1N1 Vaccine
Pregnant and women who are breastfeeding are encouraged to receive the seasonal flu shot as well as the 2009 H1N1 influenza (swine flu) vaccine. H1N1 flu is treated with the medications Tamiflu® (oseltamivir) or Relenza® (zanamivir). Pregnant women should not receive the H1N1 attenuated nasal spray vaccine. Possible side effects of the H1N1 flu vaccine include muscle aches, fever, nausea, tiredness, or headache.
Treating the Flu in People with Health Risks
Certain portions of the population are at an increased risk of suffering serious complications from the flu. Some of these indviduals at risk include: those with asthma, COPD, heart disease, liver or kidney disease, HIV, AIDs, elderly, women who are pregnant, and children under the age of two. Contact your physician if you have the flu immediately so that you receive the proper care to prevent serious complications.
Treatment & Diagnosis
Medications & Supplements
Prevention & Wellness
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
Medically reviewed by John Cunha, DO
FDA Prescribing Information.
FDA. Vaccines, Blood & Biologics. "FluMist Quadrivalent." 08/20/2013.
Vaccines, Blood & Biologics. February 29, 2012 Approval Letter - FluMist & Quadrivalent.