Skip to main content

Nasal Flu Vaccine for Adults

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Aug 31, 2022.

What is the nasal flu vaccine?

This vaccine is sprayed into your nose to help prevent influenza (the flu). The flu is caused by a virus. The virus spreads from person to person through coughing and sneezing. Several types of viruses cause the flu. The viruses change over time, so new vaccines are made each year. The vaccine begins to protect you about 2 weeks after you get it. Get the vaccine as soon as it is available.

What should I tell my doctor before I get the nasal flu vaccine?

  • You have any serious allergies, such as an egg allergy that causes a severe reaction. The flu vaccine may contain a small amount of egg protein. The amount is so low that it is not likely to cause an allergic reaction. Egg-free vaccines may be available.
  • You have a chronic health problem, such as diabetes, a heart or lung disease, or a blood disorder.
  • You have kidney disease or receive dialysis.
  • You have chronic liver disease or alcoholism.
  • You developed Guillain-Barré syndrome within 6 weeks of getting a flu vaccine. You may not be able to get any flu vaccine unless your provider feels the benefits outweigh the risks.

Who should not get the nasal flu vaccine or should wait to get it?

You may need to wait to get the nasal flu vaccine or instead get the flu shot if:

  • You are 50 years or older.
  • You are sick or have a fever of 101°F (38.3°C) or higher.
  • You had an allergic reaction to the nasal flu vaccine or any part of it.
  • You have a weak immune system, or you care for someone else who does.
  • You do not have a spleen, or your spleen does not work properly.
  • You are pregnant.
  • You took antiviral medicine for the flu in the past 3 weeks.
  • You have a cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leak or a cochlear implant.

What are the risks of the nasal flu vaccine?

The vaccine may cause mild symptoms, such as a fever, headache, and muscle aches. You may still get the flu after you receive the vaccine. You may have an allergic reaction to the vaccine. This can be life-threatening.

Call your local emergency number (911 in the US) if:

  • Your mouth and throat are swollen.
  • You are wheezing or have trouble breathing.
  • You have chest pain or your heart is beating faster than normal for you.
  • You feel like you are going to faint.

When should I seek immediate care?

  • Your face is red or swollen.
  • You have hives that spread over your body.

When should I call my doctor?

  • You feel weak or dizzy.
  • You have questions or concerns about the flu vaccine.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2022 Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or IBM Watson Health

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.