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Alphas and their families should not take “flu mist” nasal spray, but get injected flu vaccines instead, warns Alpha-1 Foundation

Oct 14, 2009 | News

Alphas and their families should not take “flu mist” nasal spray, but get injected flu vaccines instead, warns Alpha-1 FoundationMIAMI?The Alpha-1 Foundation has issued a caution against those with Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency (Alpha-1) taking flu mist, the flu vaccine given as a nasal spray.

Vaccine for H1N1, the swine flu, is available as both a nasal spray and as an injection. The nasal spray contains live-attenuated vaccine, and this is not recommended for Alphas.

Patients with lung disease due to Alpha-1 and their family members should not use the nasal vaccine, said Robert A. Sandhaus, MD, PhD, Foundation clinical director and medical director of AlphaNet.

The nasal H1N1 flu vaccine is made from live virus that has been partially inactivated and can cause serious infections in individuals who have a compromised immune system, including people with lung disease. Family members who receive this live virus vaccine can pass the virus to other family members, said Sandhaus.

For this flu season, two flu shots are recommended. Separate injections are needed for H1N1 vaccine and the regular seasonal flu. Neither injections for regular seasonal flu shots nor H1N1 injections are made from live-attentuated vaccine.

The flu mist is licensed only for use in individuals ages two through 49 years of age who do not have any chronic medical conditions.

However, the nasal spray is not licensed for use:
?in pregnant women,
?children younger than two,
? and adults aged 50 years and older with a chronic medical condition, including asthma, lung disease, or anyone with a weakened immune system.

Live-attenuated vaccine is delivered in the form of an inhaled nasal spray and is increasingly used as an alternative to the more-familiar injected vaccine, especially in children.

AlphaNet has issued guidelines for Alphas in dealing with the H1N1 and regular seasonal flu.

 

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