Tuesdays are Your Turn – H1N1 FluMist and Viral Shedding

One of this site’s regular readers left a comment yesterday with a perfect question for today’s Reader Response. You can read the whole thing on this post, but here’s a summary:

Roe has an 25 year-old daughter with lifelong asthma who’s currently in the middle of a flare. She’s taking steroids for it, but so far they’re not helping. In October, she battled bronchitis for two weeks. This daughter also has an asthmatic daughter of her own, a seven year-old having a rough cold/flu season as well. The problem: the adult daughter’s fiancee just got the H1N1 spray vaccine, and in Roe’s words:

FluMist states on its website that viral bodies can be shed from the vaccinated individual for 21 days! That’s an awful long time to worry about possibly catching the virus. . . . I do not want to cause friction between my loved ones but I have nursed my daughter AND my little grand-daughter through too many scary episodes this year already. I would appreciate any insight you or your readers have on this. Is this as worrisome as it seems to me?

The main question being (since Roe’s daughter is on prednisone right now),

How much does an immune-compromised person have to worry about catching swine flu from someone’s who’s received the spray vaccine?

It’s a perfect subject for today’s feature because I don’t have any idea. I’ve read only a little – a very little – about vaccines and viral shedding, since the only person in this house who hasn’t caught and recovered from H1N1 is Mr. Asthma Mom.

How about the rest of you? Got any opinions/advice/insight for Roe?

3 responses to “Tuesdays are Your Turn – H1N1 FluMist and Viral Shedding”

  1. Danielle says:

    Did a quick google and found this on the Q & A page of the CDC website:

    Can contacts of people with weakened immune systems get the nasal-spray flu vaccine?
    People who are in contact with others with severely weakened immune systems when they are being cared for in a protective environment (for example, people with hematopoietic stem cell transplants), should not get the nasal spray vaccine, including the 2009 H1N1 nasal spray vaccine if they will come into contact with the severely immunocompromised person within 7 days of vaccination. People who have contact with others with lesser degrees of immunosuppression (for example, people with diabetes, people with asthma taking corticosteroids, or people infected with HIV) can get the nasal spray vaccine

    Looks like people on corticosteroids are in the clear.

    It also says that the attenuated virus in the vaccine cannot grow and replicate at body temperature. So although there may be virus shedding, there’s not really any way for these to cause infection.

    This is the only website I visited, wish I had time to do a more thorough scan. But, it’s a source I trust and I hope it can ease your worry Roe!

  2. Roe says:

    Thanks for the input. FYI, my soon to be son-in-law came down with respiratory symptoms a day after FluMist and Dr put him on a Z-pak calling it a URI. I was wondering if taking antibiotics so soon after getting the flumist doesnt counteract what the vaccine is trying to do?
    On another note, I accompanied my daughter to a return visit to her Dr because she cannot stop coughing. And to my amazement, the dr gave her a script for cough med with codeine! Her Ped that treated her for 21 years always said NEVER give suppressents to asthmatics. The physician also told her its viral and no wheezing yet she coughs constantly AND she had her last steroid pill yesterday which did not seem to work. She also said there is no problem being around someone who had the live flu mist. I don’t think she’s read the literature FluMist put out! I miss the Pediatrician!

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