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Should You Get the Flu Shot or Nasal Spray Vaccine?

By Lila Havens, Staff Writer
9/10/2012 9:27:20 AM

Influenza (flu) is a common, contagious disease that kills thousands of people each year. Getting a flu shot each fall can help prevent flu. But some people would rather risk getting sick then get a shot.

If you hate shots but want flu protection, you may have another choice. The flu vaccine is also available as a nasal spray. Other names for the nasal spray flu vaccine are FluMist or LAIV (live, attenuated influenza vaccine).

How is the nasal spray vaccine different from the flu shot?

Both types of vaccine are good at preventing the flu, but they do have some differences.

How they are given

-The flu shot is given as an injection, usually in the upper arm.
-The nasal spray vaccine is sprayed into the nostrils.

Who can use them

-The flu shot is an option for almost anyone older than 6 months, including people with chronic diseases.
-The nasal spray vaccine is an option for healthy people between the ages of 2 and 49 who aren't pregnant and don't have certain health conditions (see below).

Risk of flu

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