Your doctor reminds you every year to “Make sure you get your flu shot.” But should you heed that advice?
Some doctors and nurses swear by the flu shot, making it their mission to have as many patients as possible vaccinated against the potentially deadly influenza each year. But we know there are people who just aren’t convinced the flu shot is as effective as some doctors would have you believe.
Busting Myths About Flu Shots
Today, we’re busting the most common myths about the flu shot so you can make the best possible decision for your health.
Myth #1 – You Will Not Get Sick if You Have a Flu Shot
You are less likely to get the flu if you get the flu shot. There’s no doubt about it. But, it’s not a guarantee that you won’t catch the flu virus.
Once you receive your flu vaccine, it can take up to two weeks before the antibodies begin to protect you from the flu. And it only protects you from strains of the flu predicted to be a problem that year. If the virus makes its rounds earlier than you receive your shot or if the predictions for flu strains are off, it’s possible to get the flu after receiving the vaccine.
Myth #2 – Healthy People Don’t Need the Flu Vaccine
Truthfully, anyone can contract the flu regardless of their health status. While it’s highly recommended that people with a chronic illness receive the flu vaccine, they aren’t the only ones.
Children, pregnant women, and people aged 40 or older should receive the vaccine as a precaution. Healthy individuals in other demographics should receive the vaccine because they could spread the virus to others.
Myth #3 – You Don’t Need a Flu Shot if You Got One Last Year
Each year brings a new strain (or mutation) of the flu. This requires scientists to develop new vaccines to combat the changes in the virus each season. Due to the ever-changing makeup of the vaccine, it’s necessary to get the flu shot every year.
Myth #4 – The Flu is No More Serious than a Bad Cold
Influenza shares many of the same characteristics as a bad cold, such as fever, runny nose, sneezing, achiness, and sore throat. However, “bad colds” aren’t usually known to cause death and other serious ailments.
More than 200,000 people are hospitalized and another 36,000 people die each year in the United States because of influenza. The flu usually lasts longer than a normal cold and can spread more quickly.
Myth #5 – The Flu Shot Will Make You Get the Flu
The flu vaccine contains an inactive strain of the flu, which can’t cause you harm. However, receiving the shot can cause muscle soreness, especially near the injection site, which can be mistaken for the early onset of the flu.
Final Words About Flu Shots
Influenza is a serious illness that can negatively affect your health, even if you’ve always been healthy. If you have questions or concerns regarding the flu or flu vaccine, your doctor can help you make the best decisions for your health needs.
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