Time for your flu shot. What about your 'flu mist'?

Wednesday, October 8th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

It's called "flu mist" - the first nasal spray that offers protection against the flu. News on 6 reporter Emory Bryan has the story.

Dick Hackbarth isn't afraid of needles - he's afraid of the flu. He gets a flu shot every year - and says it doesn't hurt. “Absolutely not, it's wonderful." A relatively few people who need a flu shot actually get one. For some it's the incorrect belief the shot can give them the flu. For others it's a fear of needles. Jan Guinn RN, Visiting Nurses Association: "We have a few that are nervous, sweating.”

The new alternative is called "flumist" - a flu vaccine in the form of a nasal spray. It's a pricey alternative - $60 instead of $20 for the shot, so insurance probably won't pay for it.

The Visiting Nurses Association has the flu mist vaccine - but not every clinic does. And since it's a live vaccine, it's not for everyone. People with compromised immunity should stick with the shot. In either case - the protection outweighs the risk of going without - and possibly contracting the flu. The flu kills thousands of people every year in this country - even though the flu vaccine is widely available.

Most doctor’s offices have the vaccine now - which is plenty of time to build up protection before flu season starts.