The Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention has finally added the nasal version of the influenza vaccine in time for flu season.
The updated 2018-2019 advisory published by the public health agency give recommendations on which flu shots should be administered to patients. This year, the nasal spray influenza vaccine has been added, giving doctors the freedom to use them whenever they seem fit.
The decision to include nasal versions of the influenza vaccine comes as a surprise because, in the past two years, the agency has advised against the use of FluMist Quadrivalent or LAIV4, the vaccine administered via a nasal spray rather than a needle injection.
Nasal Spray Vaccine Against Influenza
"LAIV4 is an option for those for whom it is appropriate," reads the advisory published on the official website of the CDC.
The nasal spray vaccine, according to the agency's assessment, did not work as well against the H1N1, a strain of the flu, compared to those administered using a needle. However, this year, experts said that the LAIV4 has shown effectiveness against influenza viruses similar to IIV, a needle-administered vaccine.
The inclusion of the nasal spray vaccine against influenza will hopefully encourage more people, especially those who are afraid of needles, to protect themselves against the strain of flu. Last year, according to the CDC, more than 170 children died of flu-related illness — the highest number recorded for the age group.
By February 2018, the flu has killed up to 40, 414 people across the United States, reported Fortune.
"Last year we had a very bad flu season," said University of Utah Hospital's chief pediatric infectious diseases.
The nasal spray vaccine against influenza has been approved to be administered to anyone aged 2 to 49 years old. Pregnant women, patients with other medical conditions, and people that have a history of allergies are advised to consult their doctors before getting the vaccine.
Influenza Symptoms And Treatment
Influenza becomes a common problem in the United States around late fall to up to early spring. Symptoms include fever or chills, cough, sore throat, runny/stuffy nose, muscle aches, fatigue, and headaches. Some people might also experience diarrhea and vomiting.
While most patients diagnosed with influenza will recuperate without any complications, influenza might also cause serious illnesses, hospitalization, and death.
The CDC notes that most people with a mild case of the flu do not need immediate medical attention. In most cases, patients are encouraged to stay home and avoid contact to prevent spreading the virus around.
However, more serious cases can be treated with antiviral drugs prescribed by doctors.