The flu season is showing some signs of slowing down – the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that influenza-like illness is decreasing in the South, Southeast, New England, and Midwest areas of the United States.
However, flu activity is increasing in the Mid-Atlantic, Southwest, and Northwest areas of the country. The CDC still recommends people six months and older get the flu shot or, if you qualify, the nasal-spray flu vaccine FluMist. But what’s in this vaccine, and how does it compare to the flu shot?
Influenza Nasal Vaccine: Active Ingredients
The FluMist contains three weakened, but live, strains of influenza virus. Each year, experts from the CDC, the World Health Organization (WHO), and other organizations study flu patterns and decide which three viruses should be included in the vaccines. The flu shot and FluMist all contain the same three strains of virus: a strain of influenza A (H3N2), a strain of influenza A (H1N1), and a strain of influenza B.
The FluMist vaccine also contains stabilizers and antibiotics. Let’s take a look at each one of these ingredients to see what it is and why it’s needed.
Stabilizers are needed to keep the vaccine from changing when it is exposed to light, humidity, heat, or acidity. Stabilizers also help keep the vaccine from sticking to the sides of the vial. Monosodium glutamate, gelatin, arginine, sucrose (sugar), and dibasic and monobasic potassium phosphate (salt solution) are the stabilizers used in FluMist.
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