Myths About Flu Shots


Image is from CDC

It is recommended that everyone over six months of age get the flu vaccine. However, you may be letting some common myths cause you to hesitate when you consider getting a flu vaccine. Here are six common myths and misconceptions about flu shots.

Getting the Flu Shot Can Give You The Flu

The truth is that the flu vaccine is created from an inactive form of the virus. In the case of the recombinant vaccine, there is no flu virus present in the vaccine. The flu shot can cause side effects like mild body aches and a low grade fever. However, in studies with one group given the flu shot and others given a saline shot, these side effects were present in equal parts in both groups. The only side effect that was more common in the group who received the shot was redness and soreness at the injection site.

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You Shouldn’t Get the Flu Shot if You Are Sick

There is some truth to this one. If you are seriously ill or have a fever, it is recommended that you wait to get a flu shot. However, something like a simple cold without fever shouldn’t stop you from getting one. A good rule of thumb is that if you feel well enough to go about your daily activities, then you are well enough for a flu shot. If you are sick enough to miss work or go to the doctor, then you should wait to get your flu shot.

You Shouldn’t Get the Flu Shot if You Are Pregnant

It’s actually important to get a flu shot when you are pregnant. Getting the flu when you are pregnant increases your risk of hospitalization, premature labor, and birth defects. There are no known risks to getting the flu shot when you are pregnant.

You Can’t Get the Flu Shot if You Have an Egg Allergy

Professionals used to recommend against getting the flu vaccine if you are allergic to eggs, or if you have already had an allergic reaction to the flu. Those recommendations have now changed. Doctors urge everyone to get the flu shot, even if you have had a past history of an adverse reaction. You should be sure to get the flu shot in a doctor’s office in case you have a serious reaction, however.

The Flu Shot Isn’t Effective

The flu shot is only effective in preventing the flu in about 60% of cases. That doesn’t mean that you won’t benefit from it, though. Even if you contract the flu after getting a flu shot, it reduces your risks of serious complications between 30%-70%.

It’s Too Late To Get a Flu Shot After November

Flu season usually begins in October or November, and it lasts until April and sometimes May. Peak flu season varies some from year to year, with some being earlier and some being later. It is recommended to get your flu shot in October or November. However, the flu season is often in full swing long after November. Even if you’ve put off getting your flu shot, it’s still worth getting.

These are just some of the most common myths about flu shots. It’s very easy and convenient to get a flu shot these days, and it’s a great way to protect yourself and your family.

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