Skip to Content


Generic Name: influenza virus vaccine (nasal) (in floo ENZ a VYE rus VAK seen)
Brand Names: FluMist 2016-2017

What is FluMist?

FluMist nasal spray is for use in children and adults, between the ages of 2 and 49 years old, to prevent infection caused by influenza virus. The vaccine is redeveloped each year to contain specific strains of activated (live) flu virus that are recommended by public health officials for that year.

Influenza (commonly known as "the flu") is a serious disease caused by a virus. Influenza virus can spread from one person to another through small droplets of saliva that are expelled into the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. The virus can also be passed through contact with objects the infected person has touched, such as a door handle or other surfaces.

The influenza virus nasal vaccine is a "live virus" vaccine. Influenza virus vaccine is also available in an injectable form, which is a "killed virus" vaccine.

FluMist works by exposing you to a small dose of the influenza virus, which helps your body to develop immunity to the disease. FluMist will not treat an active infection that has already developed in the body.

Becoming infected with influenza is much more dangerous to your health than receiving this vaccine. Influenza causes thousands of deaths each year, and hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations. However, like any medicine, FluMist can cause side effects but the risk of serious side effects is extremely low.

Like any vaccine, FluMist may not provide protection from disease in every person. This vaccine will not prevent illness caused by avian flu ("bird flu").

Important information

You may not be able to receive FluMist if you are allergic to eggs, if you or someone in your household has a weak immune system, if you are under 18 years old and have recently taken aspirin, or if you have a history of Guillain-Barre syndrome or severe allergic reaction to a flu vaccine.

You should not receive a booster dose of FluMist if you had a life-threatening allergic reaction after the first dose.

Keep track of any and all side effects you have after receiving this vaccine. If you ever need to receive FluMist in the future, you will need to tell your doctor if the previous dose caused any side effects.

Before taking this medicine

You may not be able to receive FluMist if you are allergic to eggs, or if you have:

  • a history of severe allergic reaction to a flu vaccine;

  • a history of Guillain-BarrĂ© syndrome (within 6 weeks after receiving a flu vaccine);

  • a weak immune system caused by disease, bone marrow transplant, or by using certain medicines or receiving cancer treatments;

  • if someone in your household has a weak immune system; or

  • if you are under 18 years old and have recently taken aspirin.

To make sure FluMist is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have (or the child receiving this vaccine has):

  • asthma, wheezing, or other breathing disorder;

  • a history of seizures;

  • a neurologic disorder or disease affecting the brain (or if this was a reaction to a previous vaccine); or

  • used a flu medication such as oseltamivir (Tamiflu) or zanamivir (Relenza) within the past 48 hours.

You can still receive a vaccine if you have a minor cold. In the case of a more severe illness with a fever or any type of infection, wait until you get better before receiving FluMist.

FluMist nasal influenza vaccine is not recommended for use in pregnant women. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that pregnant women get a flu shot during any trimester of pregnancy to protect themselves and their newborn babies from flu.

It is not known whether influenza virus nasal vaccine passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

FluMist is not approved for anyone younger than 2 or older than 49 years of age.

How is FluMist given?

FluMist is given as a nasal spray into each nostril. A healthcare provider will give you this vaccine. A child receiving this vaccine may need a repeat dose 1 month after receiving the first vaccine.

You should receive a flu vaccine every year. Your immunity will gradually decrease over the 12 months after you receive FluMist.

FluMist is usually given in October or November. Some people may need to have their vaccines earlier or later. Follow your doctor's instructions.

Your doctor may recommend treating fever and pain with an aspirin-free pain reliever such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil, and others) when the vaccine is given and for the next 24 hours. Follow the label directions or your doctor's instructions about how much of this medicine to take.

It is especially important to prevent fever from occurring if you have a seizure disorder such as epilepsy.

Influenza virus vaccine dosing information

Usual Adult Dose for Influenza Prophylaxis:

Adults up to 49 years: One dose (0.2 mL) intranasally per influenza season. Administer as 0.1 mL per nostril.

Usual Geriatric Dose for Influenza Prophylaxis:

50 years and older: not recommend

Usual Pediatric Dose for Influenza Prophylaxis:

Under 2 years of age: not recommended due to an increased risk of hospitalization and wheezing observed in clinical trials.
2 to 8 years not previously vaccinated with influenza virus vaccine nasal spray: 1 dose of 0.2 mL intranasally, followed by a second 0.2 mL dose administered at least 1 month apart.
2 to 8 years previously vaccinated with influenza virus vaccine nasal spray: 1 dose of 0.2 mL intranasally per influenza season.
9 years and over: 1 dose of 0.2 mL intranasally per influenza season.

Administer all doses as 0.1 mL per nostril.

See also: Dosage Information (in more detail)

What happens if I miss a dose?

Since FluMist is usually given only one time per year, you will most likely not be on a dosing schedule. Call your doctor if you forget to receive your yearly vaccination in October or November.

Call your doctor for instructions if your child misses a booster dose of FluMist.

What happens if I overdose?

An overdose of FluMist is unlikely to occur.

What should I avoid before or after receiving FluMist?

For at least 21 days after receiving FluMist, avoid close contact with anyone who has a weak immune system caused by disease (such as cancer, HIV, or AIDS), or by certain medicines such as steroids, cancer chemotherapy, or radiation treatment. A person with a weak immune system can become ill if they have close contact with you after you have recently received an influenza vaccine.

For at least 2 weeks after receiving this vaccine, avoid using antiviral medications that are normally used to treat flu symptoms, such as oseltamivir (Tamiflu) or zanamivir (Relenza).

FluMist side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction to FluMist: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

You should not receive a booster dose of FluMist if you had a life-threatening allergic reaction after the first dose.

Keep track of any and all side effects you have after receiving this vaccine. If you ever receive FluMist in the future, you will need to tell the doctor if the first vaccine caused any side effects.

Nasal influenza virus is a live virus vaccine and may cause you to have mild flu-like symptoms. However, you may have flu-like symptoms at any time during flu season that may be caused by strains of influenza virus that are not contained in the vaccine.

Call a doctor at once or seek emergency medical attention if the person who has received this vaccine has wheezing or trouble breathing.

Common FluMist side effects include:

  • fever over 100 degrees F;

  • chills;

  • runny or stuffy nose;

  • sore throat, cough;

  • loss of appetite;

  • muscle pain;

  • headache; or

  • feeling tired or irritable.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report vaccine side effects to the US Department of Health and Human Services at 1-800-822-7967.

See also: Side effects (in more detail)

What other drugs will affect FluMist?

Before receiving this vaccine, tell the doctor about all other vaccines you have recently received.

Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any you start or stop using, especially:

  • amantadine;

  • aspirin;

  • oseltamivir (Tamiflu);

  • rimantadine; or

  • zanamivir (Relenza).

This list is not complete. Other drugs may interact with influenza virus nasal vaccine, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible interactions are listed in this medication guide.

More about FluMist (influenza virus vaccine, live, trivalent)

Consumer resources

Other brands: FluMist Quadrivalent

Professional resources

Related treatment guides

Where can I get more information?

  • Your doctor or pharmacist can provide more information about FluMist. Additional information is available from your local health department or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use FluMist only for the indication prescribed.
  • Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.

Copyright 1996-2017 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 3.04. Revision Date: 2017-01-16, 8:45:45 AM.