Medical Minute: Flu Mist

Flu season is around the corner. Getting an annual flu shot is important for everyone, especially older adults and children. However, the fear of needles can keep many from getting the flu shot. Now, you may no longer have an excuse.

Like many kids, six-year-old Brianna and 11-year-old Dante are afraid of going to the doctors. Moms say it takes a toll on them, too.

"He whines all night. He cries all night. I have to convince him that the needle is not going to hurt, that it's going to benefit him," says Robin McDaniel.

When it comes to giving a flu shot, doctors now have a needle-free alternative, a vaccine in the form of a mist.

"You spray it in the nose, and it sets up a little infection in your nose, and your body protects you against that and makes antibodies in your nose and throat against the flu," says pediatrician, Dr. James King.

The mist is expected to boost vaccine rates in school-age children and middle-aged adults, two groups who get and spread the flu but are the least likely to get flu shots each year.

It's approved for healthy people aged five to 49, with few side effects.

"About 15 to 20 percent of people might get a little stuffy nose, and less than 5 percent of children will get a very low-grade fever."

And it's less frightening, too.

For more information, contact:

Bill Seiler, Assistant Director of Media Relations
University of Maryland Medical Center/University of Maryland School of Medicine
(410) 328-8919
Bseiler@umm.edu

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