Should I get a flu shot?

Shampoo and nasal spray vaccines on the horizon

What will fighting the flu mean in the future? It may not do anything for split ends, but a shampoo or patch may one day replace needles when you get your flu vaccination. Researchers at Stanford University and the University of Alabama at Birmingham have been working with naked DNA, a strand of the basic genetic building blocks known as nucleotides.

Although most vaccines are repelled by the skin (which is one reason why they they are injected into the body) scientists packaged this vaccine into a cold virus (known as an adenovirus) that helps transport the DNA into skin cells, provoking the immune system to respond. Successfully used so far on mice for hepatitis, the researchers hope it will one day work for humans. A new nasal spray flu vaccine is already showing promise, especially for healthy young children. According to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), the cold-adapted vaccine cannot grow in the warmer temperatures found in the lower respiratory tract, but it grows well in the cooler nasal passages. After being sprayed into the nose, the vaccine mimics a natural infection and jump-starts your immune system without actually causing disease.

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