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Bureau Of Wellness Safety & Training

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Flu-Mist Information

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Any Questions Contact Ellen M. Brown, RN - Occupational Medical Services at 240-777-5086
or email at  ellen.brown@montgomerycountymd.gov

FROMS will be offering both  FluMist ®  and flu shots this year to employees at the  FROMS clinic and at the PTSA. Dates to receive vaccine will be forthcoming. The following information is provided for staff to become familiar with  FluMist ®  and flu shots as well as how to prevent contracting the flu.

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  • FluMist® Information
    • What is FluMist?
    • How does FluMist work?
    • When is the best time to get FluMist?
    • How can I find FluMist?
FluMist® (Influenza Virus Vaccine Live, Intranasal) is a nasal flu vaccine that provides healthy children, adolescents, and adults, aged 5 to 49, with well tolerated, effective protection against the flu.

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What is The Flu? 

Although often confused with the common cold, influenza is more severe and poses a greater health concern. Every year, an estimated 17 million to 50 million cases of influenza are reported nationwide—many of which occur in otherwise healthy people.

Similar to the common cold, the flu can produce respiratory symptoms, such as runny nose, coughing, and sore throat. However, the influenza virus typically causes more intense symptoms, such as sudden onset of fever, chills, headache, and muscle aches in children, adolescents, and adults. Unlike symptoms of the common cold, the fatigue and cough caused by the flu can last more than two weeks—lingering long after other symptoms subside.

How is the flu spread?

When an infected person sneezes, coughs, or even speaks, he or she expels microscopic droplets that can contain the influenza virus, which can infect others if inhaled. Therefore, one infected person can quickly turn crowded or enclosed spaces such as schools, homes, and offices into likely locations for catching the flu.

Once the influenza virus enters the nose, it invades the lining of the throat, nasal passages, and sometimes the lungs and can quickly cause an infection. The virus then infects healthy cells and rapidly produces thousands of copies of the influenza virus, which can then infect other cells throughout the respiratory tract.

Who is at risk of exposure to the flu?

The flu is highly contagious, and people who have it can spread it to others even before they have symptoms. School-aged children are particularly susceptible to the flu. In one study, children aged 5 to 14 were approximately four times more likely than adults to get infulenza. School-aged children are also likely to spread the virus to others in their home and community. Those at risk for exposure to the flu include:

  • School-aged children
  • Adults in frequent contact with school-aged children, including family members and teachers
  • Adults in close, frequent contact with other adults, including working adults, travelers, college students, and military personnel
  • People in large families

Nearly everyone is at risk of exposure to the flu. The primary way to help prevent the flu is to get vaccinated every year.

Learn more about how you and your family can help prevent the flu, with needle-free  FluMist® (Influenza Virus Vaccine Live, Intranasal).

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Five Simple Flu Prevention Tips 

  • Get vaccinated! 
    Although the below preventative measures can help, the best way to help prevent the flu is to get a flu vaccine every year. Find out how you can help prevent the flu with  FluMist® (Influenza Virus Vaccine Live, Intranasal).

    FluMist is indicated for active immunization for the prevention of disease caused by influenza A and B viruses in healthy children, adolescents, and adults, 5 to 49 years of age. There are risks associated with all vaccines, including FluMist. FluMist does not protect 100% of individuals vaccinated.
  • Eat a balanced diet and get proper rest 
    This is good general advice for keeping your body healthy and able to fight off infections. A proper diet and sleep can help your immune system stay strong so that it can fight off viral infections before they take hold.
  • Keep your distance! 
    Generally speaking, you should avoid being closer than six feet to someone who is ill for more than a minute or two, especially if they're coughing and sneezing. You should also avoid going to work when you are ill with the flu and encourage your kids to stay home from school if they have the flu.
  • Routinely clean and disinfect surfaces
    Cleaning and disinfecting are not the same. While cleaning with soap and water removes visible dirt and most germs, disinfecting with a bleach solution or other disinfectant kills additional germs on surfaces, providing an added margin of safety.
  • Wash your hands 
    Hand washing with soap and water is one of the best ways to prevent infectious diseases. You should wash your hands often to help kill the germs you may pick up from touching people, surfaces, and animals.

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What is FluMist?

FluMist is the first flu vaccine in the United States that is given as a nasal mist instead of a shot. FluMist is administered by your health care professional or even your pharmacist in some states, and it is approved for active immunization for the prevention of disease caused by influenza A and B viruses in healthy children, adolescents, and adults 5 to 49 years of age.

There are risks associated with all vaccines, including FluMist. FluMist does not protect 100% of individuals vaccinated.

Please see  Patient Information for additional information. Ask your health care professional if FluMist is right for you and your family.

How does FluMist work?

FluMist is designed to help your body develop disease fighting antibodies. After vaccination with FluMist, these disease fighting antibodies can develop in your nose and your bloodstream. Because FluMist is made from a weakened version of the flu virus, it is designed to cause the immune system to respond and help protect the body from the flu without actually causing a case of the flu.

FluMist is given in the nose, and is designed only to work in the nose. When the FluMist vaccine strains reproduce in the nose, they produce effective immunity to the flu. FluMist is designed so that it will not replicate anywhere else in the body, including the lungs.

When is the best time to get vaccinated with FluMist?

Healthy people 5 to 49 years of age can get vaccinated as soon as FluMist is available each fall. Generally speaking, it's a good idea to get vaccinated before you have the chance of being exposed to the influenza virus, which can circulate in the fall and winter. For example, vaccination with FluMist in September or October will help provide protection from the flu for the entire flu season.

However, healthy children and adults aged 5 to 49 can still benefit from being vaccinated well into the winter months. Because flu season varies across the country, generally peaking between December and March, vaccination still offers protection against the flu if administered in December or later, even if influenza activity has already been documented in the community.

Because the viruses that cause the flu can change every year, it's important to get vaccinated every year.

How can I find FluMist?

FluMist is available through your health care professional or even your pharmacist in some states. Ask your Primary Care Physician or Pediatrician if FluMist is right for you and your family. 

Important Product Information

In studies of people between the ages of 5 and 49, side effects were generally mild and temporary. Runny nose was the most common. Other common side effects included various cold-like symptoms, such as headache, cough, sore throat, tiredness/weakness, irritability, and muscle aches.

FluMist is indicated for healthy children, adolescents, and adults, 5 to 49 years of age. There are risks associated with all vaccines, including FluMist. Like any vaccine, FluMist does not protect 100% of individuals vaccinated.

FluMist should not be used, under any circumstances, in anyone with an allergy to any part of the vaccine, including eggs; in children and adolescents receiving aspirin therapy; in people who have a history of Guillain-Barré syndrome; and in people with known or suspected immune system problems. Pregnant women and people with certain medical conditions, asthma, or reactive airways disease should not get FluMist.

Please see the  Patient Information for additional information. Ask your health care professional if FluMist is right for you and your family.

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Flu and Cold Symptoms Guide 

Is it the flu or a common cold?

Although often confused with the common cold, influenza is more severe and poses a greater health concern. Every year, an estimated 17 million to 50 million cases of influenza are reported nationwide—many of which occur in otherwise healthy people.

Similar to the common cold, the flu can produce respiratory symptoms, such as runny nose, coughing, and sore throat. However, the influenza virus typically causes more intense symptoms, such as sudden onset of fever, chills, headache, and muscle aches in children, adolescents, and adults. Unlike symptoms of the common cold, the fatigue and cough caused by the flu can last more than two weeks—lingering long after other symptoms subside.

Differences in symptoms between the flu and common cold

The table below shows the difference in symptoms between the common cold and the flu.

Symptoms Common Cold Flu
Fever rare in adults and older children, but can be as high as 102° F in infants and small children usually 102° F, but can go up to 104° F and usually lasts 3 to 4 days
Headache rare sudden onset and can be severe
Muscle aches mild usual, and often severe
Tiredness and weakness mild can last two or more weeks
Extreme exhaustion never sudden onset and can be severe
Runny nose often sometimes
Sneezing often sometimes
Sore throat often sometimes
Cough mild hacking cough usual, and can become severe

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