More Information on the Influenza Vaccine
Until recently, you could get the influenza vaccine only as an injection (flu shot). However, in 2003, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a nasal spray form of the influenza vaccine called FluMist®, which you can get from your healthcare provider. The FDA approved it for use in healthy people who are 5 to 49 years of age.
You should not use FluMist if:
- You have certain lung conditions, including asthma, or heart conditions
- You have metabolic disorders, such as diabetes or kidney dysfunction
- You have an immunodeficiency disease or you are on immunosuppressive treatment
- You have had Guillain-Barré syndrome
- You are pregnant
- You have a history of allergy or hypersensitivity to any of the parts of FluMist or to eggs
- You are a child or teenager who regularly takes aspirin or products containing aspirin.
Your immune system takes time to respond to the influenza vaccine. Therefore, you should get vaccinated 6 to 8 weeks before flu season begins in November to prevent getting infected or to reduce the severity of flu if you do get it. However, flu season usually lasts until March, so it is not too late to get the influenza vaccine after the season has begun. The influenza vaccine itself cannot cause the flu, but you could become exposed to the virus by someone else and get infected soon after you are vaccinated.