If you're quick to pass on a Flu shot because you don't like needles, you can get your Flu protection this year with a squirt up the nose. Remember, the Flu Mist, a nasal spray, was FDA approved in June and now, it has finally arrived at the Lubbock Health Department. But before you rush off to breathe in your Flu protection this year, there are a few things you should know.
First, the Flu Mist is not for everyone. While the shot can be given to babies as young as six months and to adults up to age 65, the Flu Mist is only recommended between the ages of five and 49. Unlike the shot, the Flu Mist is made from a live virus so it may give you mild symptoms like a runny nose, sore throat and cough. That's why Flu Mist is advised only for healthy adults who live with other healthy people.
Dr. Margaret Gorensek says that Flu shot is a weakened live virus and Flu Mist is an inactivated virus. The concern is that if you give a live virus to somebody with a weak immune system or chronic problems, they might have a stronger reaction to it and get really sick with the flu.
Another big difference in the Flu Mist and the shot is the cost. The Health Department is giving Flu shots to kids between six months and 18 years old for just $5 and if you're 19 or older, the shot is $10. But if you want the nasal spray, the health department is offering that for $50 and only at the main office on Ave. J and 19th street. You can not get the mist at area health fairs and clinics around town because it has to be frozen up until the time it is given. Even though one is from a live virus, the other is from a killed virus, they use egg whites in developing the vaccine so you can't have the shot or the spray if you're allergic to eggs or chicken products.