An experimental flu vaccine that is sprayed up the nose has been found to be highly effective in children, according to research published Thursday.

Experts hope the spray, if it reaches the market, will make the flu vaccine more acceptable to those who don't like shots.Doctors tested FluMist on 1,602 children ages 15 months to 6 years. They received either the vaccine or a dummy spray in 1996.

During the following flu season, 1 percent of the children getting the vaccine developed influenza, compared with 18 percent in the untreated group. Those getting the vaccine were also 30 percent less likely to suffer fever with otitis media, a bacterial earache that often accompanies the flu in children.