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The Difference Between the Flu Shot and FluMist

Q: What's the difference between the FluMist vaccine and a shot? Which should my kid get?

A: No needle! The new FluMist vaccine is just sprayed into the nose. The other difference is that the mist vaccine contains a live but weakened version of the influenza virus. That means there is a very small chance that it could trigger flu symptoms. For this reason, it's recommended that only healthy kids over the age of 2 receive the FluMist option. Babies between 6 months and 2 years, those with asthma or reactive airway disease, and those with any type of immune problems should receive the traditional injection. As painful as that may seem (for both of you!), it's worth it. The flu causes fever, aches, cough, misery, and, rarely, even death. Which means that my infant daughters and their asthmatic mother will be among the unlucky ones getting a shot.

Lara Zibners, M.D. This pediatrician mom penned the hilarious and helpful If Your Kid Eats This Book, Everything Will Still Be Okay.

Learn all about cold and flu symptoms, prevention and treatment in our Cold & Flu Health Guide.