Busting the flu shot myths
November 2, 2018
A flu vaccine is the best protection in keeping the disease at bay
Influenza killed 80,000 people last season, 180 of them were children.
Among the child deaths reported to Center for Disease Control (CDC) last season, about
80 percent were in children who were not vaccinated. More than one-third occurred among children 6 months to 4 years old.
And, more than 900,000 people were hospitalized, double the number of many regular flu seasons.
A recent study indicated that the flu vaccine reduced children’s risk of flu-related pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) admissions by 74% during flu seasons from 2010-2012.
Another study showed that getting the flu vaccine was associated with a 71% reduction in flu-related hospitalizations among adults of all ages during the 2011-2012 flu season.
“Getting the flu shot is the first line of defense against the disease,” said Dr. David Gude, Texas MedClinic chief medical officer and practicing physician. “So many people believe they don’t need one for reasons that are not medically founded.”
Still do not think the flu shot will help you? Check out the flu shot myths below.
Myth: You can catch the flu from the vaccine.
No, you cannot catch the flu from the vaccine. The vaccine is an inactive virus that cannot transmit infection. Those who get sick after they receive the shot were going to get sick anyway. It takes about two weeks for the vaccine to activate and provide protection from the flu.
Myth: If you are healthy, you do not need to get the flu shot.
Everyone benefits from the flu shot. And, it is especially important for those with chronic illness to get vaccinated to avoid serious health complications if they contract the flu. The CDC recommends anyone ages 6 months and older to get a flu shot, including pregnant women.
Myth: You do not need to get a flu vaccine every year.
The influenza virus changes or mutates each year. Getting vaccinated each year ensures you have the immunity to that season’s strain that will most likely cause an outbreak.
Myth: The vaccine is all you need to protect yourself from getting the flu.
“Beyond the flu vaccine, the most important deterrent to catching the flu is maintaining a healthy lifestyle. We have a better chance at fighting the flu, preventing the virus from taking hold when we eat nutritiously, get plenty of sleep and keep allergies in control. If allergies go uncontrolled, then your upper respiratory tract is already inflamed, which sets it up to more easily acquire a virus,” said Dr. Gude.
Dr. Gude also advises to wash hands regularly and to cover your face when sneezing or coughing.
Texas MedClinic has flu vaccines available. You can walk into any clinic, or check-in online.