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Medications and Drugs

Brand Names: FluMist

Generic Name: influenza virus vaccine (nasal) (Pronunciation: in floo ENZ a VYE rus VAK seen)

What is influenza virus nasal vaccine (FluMist)?

Influenza virus (commonly known as "the flu") is a serious disease caused by a virus. Influenza virus can spread from one person to another through small droplets of saliva that are expelled into the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. The virus can also be passed through contact with objects the infected person has touched, such as a door handle or other surfaces.

Nasal influenza virus vaccine is used to prevent infection caused by influenza virus. The vaccine is redeveloped each year to contain specific strains of activated (live) flu virus that are recommended by public health officials for that year.

The nasal influenza virus vaccine is a "live virus" vaccine. Influenza virus vaccine is also available in an injectable form, which is a "killed virus" vaccine.

Influenza virus vaccine works by exposing you to a small dose of the virus, which helps your body to develop immunity to the disease. Influenza virus vaccine will not treat an active infection that has already developed in the body.

Nasal influenza virus vaccine is for use in children and adults, between the ages of 2 and 49 years old.

Becoming infected with influenza (commonly known as "the flu") is much more dangerous to your health than receiving the vaccine to protect against it. Influenza causes thousands of deaths each year, and hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations. Like any medicine, this vaccine can cause side effects, but the risk of serious side effects is extremely low.

Like any vaccine, influenza virus vaccine may not provide protection from disease in every person. This vaccine will not prevent illness caused by avian flu ("bird flu").

What are the possible side effects of influenza virus nasal vaccine (FluMist)?

Nasal influenza virus (live virus) vaccine may cause you to have mild flu-like symptoms. However, you may have flu-like symptoms at any time during flu season that may be caused by strains of influenza virus that are not contained in the vaccine.

You should not receive a booster vaccine if you had a life-threatening allergic reaction after the first dose.

Keep track of any and all side effects you have after receiving this vaccine. If you ever need to receive another nasal influenza virus vaccine in the future, you will need to tell the doctor if the first vaccine caused any side effects.

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor at once if you have any of these serious side effects:

  • severe weakness or unusual feeling in your arms and legs (may occur 2 to 4 weeks after you receive the vaccine); or
  • high fever, chills, body aches, flu symptoms.

Less serious side effects include:

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report vaccine side effects to the US Department of Health and Human Services at 1-800-822-7967.

What is the most important information I should know about this vaccine (FluMist)?

The nasal influenza virus vaccine is a "live virus" vaccine. Influenza virus vaccine is also available in an injectable form, which is a "killed virus" vaccine. This medication guide addresses only the nasal spray form of this vaccine.

For at least 21 days after receiving nasal influenza virus vaccine, avoid close contact with anyone who has a weak immune system caused by disease (such as cancer, HIV, or AIDS), or by certain medicines such as steroids, cancer chemotherapy, or radiation treatment. A person with a weak immune system can become ill if they have close contact with you after you have recently received a an influenza vaccine.

You can still receive a vaccine if you have a cold or fever. In the case of a more severe illness with a fever or any type of infection, wait until you get better before receiving this vaccine.

Keep track of any and all side effects you have after receiving this vaccine. If you ever have to receive another influenza virus vaccine in the future, you will need to tell the doctor if the first vaccine caused any side effects.

Like any vaccine, influenza virus vaccine may not provide protection from disease in every person. This vaccine will not prevent illness caused by avian flu ("bird flu").

Becoming infected with influenza (commonly known as "the flu") is much more dangerous to your health than receiving the vaccine to protect against it. Influenza causes thousands of deaths each year, and hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations. Like any medicine, this vaccine can cause side effects, but the risk of serious side effects is extremely low.



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.

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