Six Flu Myths
Have you ever heard someone tell you “the flu shot gave me the flu” and wondered if it was true? Well, Harvard Medical School did some digging and are providing us with their discoveries…
MYTH #1: You can catch the flu from the vaccine.
The vaccine is made from an inactivated virus that cannot transmit infection. So people who get sick after receiving the flu vaccine were going to get sick anyway. It takes 1-2 weeks to get protection from the vaccine, but people assume that because they got sick after getting the vaccine – the shot caused their illness.
MYTH #2: Healthy people don’t need to be vaccinated.
While it’s true that the flu vaccine is routinely recommended for people who have a chronic illness, healthy folks can benefit from being vaccinated. Current guidelines suggest that children ages 6 months to 19 years, pregnant women, and anyone over the age 49 be vaccinated each year. In addition, the flu vaccine is recommended for healthy people who might spread the virus to others who are particularly susceptible. Health care workers are routinely advised to get the flu vaccination to protect their patients.
MYTH #3: Getting the flu vaccine is all you need to do to protect yourself from the flu.
There are a number of steps you can take to protect yourself during flu season besides vaccination. Avoid contact with people who have the flu, wash your hands frequently, and consider taking anti-viral medications if you were exposed to the flu before being vaccinations.
MYTH #4: The flu is just a bad cold.
Influenza may cause bad cold symptoms, like sore throat, runny nose, sneezing, hoarseness, and cough. But in the U.S. alone, 36,000 people die and more than 200,000 are hospitalized each year because of the flu.
MYTH #5: You can’t spread the flu if you’re feeling well.
20-30% of people carrying the influenza virus has no symptoms.
MYTH #6: You don’t need to get a flu shot every year.
The influenza virus changes each year. So, getting vaccinated each year is important to make sure you have immunity to the strains most likely to cause an outbreak.