FluMist, an influenza vaccine that is sprayed into the nose to prevent flu, has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for children as young as age 2. The vaccine, which contains a weakened form of the live flu virus, was previously only approved for kids ages 5 and older.
Health-care professionals recommend that all children ages 6 months to 5 years old be vaccinated against influenza every year, and the approval of FluMist is good news for a couple of reasons. It's a more palatable option for kids who fear the needle, and it actually outperformed injected flu vaccine in clinical trials. In a study involving 3,900 children, there were 93 cases of flu among those receiving a traditional flu shot, but just 53 among those who received FluMist.
FluMist is not approved for children under age 2 because clinical trials showed an increased risk of hospitalization and wheezing in this age group. The inhaled vaccine should also not be given to anyone with asthma, to kids under age 5 who have recurrent wheezing, or to anyone allergic to eggs. Side effects from FluMist are reported to be mild, and include runny nose, nasal congestion and slight fever.
Posted October 2007
Christina Elston is a senior editor and health writer for Dominion Parenting Media.
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