Last Friday I had the opportunity to get this season’s flu vaccine. It was covered by my health insurance and a medical service was offering it at my office building.
I sat down next to the nurse after filling out my paperwork and waiting in line. I preemptively took off my button-down shirt and rolled up the sleeve to my t-shirt.
“Would you like the injection or the mist?” she asked.
“What’s the mist?”
The nurse explained that the mist was recommended for people between ages two and 50 years of age. The mist had a live virus, which causes the body to react more quickly and develop immunity faster than an injection, which uses a dead virus. She added that there was no needle and no muscle soreness after.
I didn’t mind getting the injection; my three prior flu vaccines were all delivered via needle.
The nurse went on to tell me about the possible side effects, and warned me to call 911 if I experienced a racing heart, hives, or shortness of breath.
I looked out into the hallway, with a line of people waiting their flu vaccines. About a third were people my age, the rest were above the age limitation for the mist. They all needed to take the injection-delivered vaccine. I thought of my mom, my stepfather, my dad and my stepmother, all of whom would need the needle-cine. I know it’s a drop in the bucket, and we are pulling from different supply sources, but I felt guilty taking something that they would need when I had an alternative.
Disclaimer: this is not a medical journal. My experience is based on recollection and is not a scientific study. Your experience may be different than mine, and this post should not be construed as medical fact. Consult your doctor if you have questions or problems about the flu nasal mist. Don’t be stupid.
Okay, here we go:
Friday, September 14, 2012
- 10:35 AM: the mist was delivered via one squirt into each nostril. It was painless and not even really disconcerting. I inhaled while the mist was delivered.
I was given a tissue and told to dab any drips with it instead of my hand. I don’t know if that was for a medical reason or just so I didn’t have to use my paws.
My nose started to run a little, so I tilted my head back. I felt the vaccine drip down my throat, and I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to swallow or not. I did, and my throat seemed to feel a bit “rough,” similar to when I used a topical throat spray like Cepacol.
- 10:40 AM-ish: my throat and nose felt extremely dry. I felt a drip in my nose and was worried my nose was bleeding. I have very dry skin and nasal passages and would frequently get spontaneous nosebleeds while living in the dry climates of Utah and Oregon. No blood though, just clear mucus.
- 11:15 AM-ish: we usually go out to eat lunch as a team on Fridays, at about 11:30. I am typically famished by then and ready to eat just about anything. I was not hungry at all, and felt a little nauseous. I ate a full lunch anyway, because I knew I was hungry, I just didn’t “feel” hungry.
- 11:30 AM-ish: I started to sneeze. My nose and throat stopped being dry. My nose began to run.
- 1:00 PM: I started to develop pressure in my sinuses, and my head hurt a little. Sort of like a really low-level headache. I drank twice as much water as usual, partly because of the vaccine and partly because I had training outdoors scheduled on Saturday.
- 4:00 PM-ish: I continued to sneeze, and my throat was very slightly sore. I coughed every now and then. These symptoms continued throughout the rest of the day.
- Sleepytime: I had some really weird dreams, but that could be due to stress at work. I normally do not remember my dreams, and especially not multiple dreams. Who knows.
Saturday, September 15, 2012
- 7:15 AM: woke up to my alarm. My head felt heavy and I was congested but otherwise I was okay.
- Morning through evening: I was outside shooting all day, but I noticed I coughed more and sneezed less. My nose continued to run.
- 8:44 PM: got into bed after a long hot shower. I don’t think it was the vaccine making me sleepy as much as a stressful week at work topped off with an intense training session. I dozed off at about 10:30.
Sunday, September 16, 2012
- 8:32 AM: woke up feeling very congested, hoarse, and a sore throat. I felt completely dried out, even after drinking a gallon of water in training and more afterwards. Chugged two glasses of water right away before drinking any coffee.
- Afternoon: the sneezing is back, but the coughing is gone. I have some post-nasal drip. Lots of water has reduced the dryness in my mouth and the soreness in my throat, but the symptoms are still prevalent. My face hurts.
- Late afternoon: I gave myself a cranial massage before our guests came over. It helped, but I can feel (and hear) a lot of mucus in my nasal passages and sinuses.
- Evening: very slight nasal drip, with one last episode of sneezing before bed time.
Monday, September 17, 2012
Looks like it’s over. I woke up this morning with a very slight amount of congestion, but the runny nose, sore throat, sneezing and coughing seem to have all passed.
I don’t think I’ll get the mist again. My prior experience with the injection was a sore shoulder and an increase of perceived body temperature. The extra “heat” feeling wore off the first day, and the soreness lasted one to three days depending on if I worked out or not. Working out seemed to help reduce the amount and duration of soreness.
Let me know if you’ve experienced the flu nasal mist, but if you haven’t had it yet, stick with the needle.