Introducing The Pain Free Flu Vaccine

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girl_shotIf your main reason for skipping a flu shot is a fear of needles, there is good news for you. Last year the FDA approved a new vaccine technology that does away with the long needle and the sore arm.

One of the two technologies that have been approved for use with the influenza vaccine is called Fluzone. How Does It Work?
The technology works by forcing the vaccine through the skin using tiny microneedles that puncture the skin very slightly. The technology is Fluzone is manufactured by Sanofi Pasteur Inc. and as pediatrician, Erin Giudice, MD from the University of Maryland Children’s Hospital explains, it is not completely free of pain. However, the spokesman for the product, actor, Chris O’Donnell (who has suffered from a lifelong fear of needles) say that it is virtually painless. He explains that the sensation is literally just a little prick on the arm and that you almost do not realize it’s been done.

According to FDA clinical trials, although it causes less pain, there may be more irritation at the site of the injection because it injects at the skin surface rather than the muscle. Fluzone is currently only approved for use in adults; however, the FDA is now conducting clinical trials in under-18s. It is available nationwide and you can find out where you can receive the injections in your area by visiting the company’s website and entering your ZIP code.

Along with FluMist, Fluzone is one of the only pain free influenza vaccine technologies available. Having said that, according to Giudice, additional topical and oral vaccines have been approved for immunization against rotovirus and other diseases.

FluMist is a nose spray that is administered in a single dose. It has been approved for children as well as adults, but the FDA has warned that people with asthma and children who suffer from recurring wheezing may have problems with wheezing following inhalation of the vaccine. Having been on the market since 2003, FluMist is available for the 2014-2015 dose of the flu vaccine.

For those who are concerned about whether these painless alternatives will be as effective as the original vaccine option, according to Giudice there is no need for concern.

She explains that since the flu infects a person through the nose and mouth, when the nasal passages are squirted with the vaccine, it simulates the virus without causing the symptoms; and this helps the body fight off the infection.

Giudice stresses that whether you choose to receive your annual flu shot through an injection or through the nose spray option, the most important thing is to get one. The American Academy of Pediatrics updated its guidelines in order to urge the parents of all children over 6 months to have them vaccinated. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended that as soon as this year’s dose is available, all healthy adults get vaccinated.

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