Five Common Myths About the Flu Vaccine
Flu season has arrived, and along with it, the option to get a flu vaccine. There are many different myths that come to light every year about the flu vaccine and whether or not people should get one. Read on to find five of the most common myths about the vaccine – and the real truth behind them.
- The flu shot can give you the flu. This is one of the most popular myths, but it is simply not true. Injected flu vaccines are specifically engineered to remove the parts of the flu virus that cause people to get sick. Some side effects that people developed in the past were often mistaken for the flu, and because it is also so easy to get the common cold during this time of year, others got a completely unrelated bug that they thought came from the vaccine.
- The flu is just like having the cold. Many people think that the flu is just a more serious version of the common cold, but this is not the case. Flu symptoms are usually developed suddenly and are severe from the start. They include things like chills, headaches, fever, aching muscles, and a cough and sore throat. If complications develop as a result of the flu, you could find yourself in the hospital. It is important to know the differences between the common cold and influenza so you can address your symptoms properly.
- The flu can be easily treated with antibiotics. The flu is caused by a virus, not by bacteria, and antibiotics only fight off bacterial infections. Some people want to take antibiotics in case they get a bacterial infection due to their weakened immune system, but this is not the best preventative step because if you do get a co-infection, your body may already be immune to the antibiotics you have been putting into your system.
- Children and pregnant women should not get the flu vaccine. The truth is, children over the age of six months who are at risk of developing a serious illness if they get the flu are eligible for the vaccine. It is provided as a nasal spray. This type of vaccine is also recommended for healthy two- and three-year-old children. Additionally, pregnant mothers should get the flu vaccine no matter what state of pregnancy they are in as they could become extremely ill if they come down with the flu. Having the vaccine while pregnant can also protect your baby against the flu throughout the early months of his or her life.
- If you’ve already had the flu this year, you don’t need the vaccine. Unlike chicken pox, you can get the flu multiple times because there is more than one strain of the virus. Even if you’ve already had the flu, you should still get the vaccine because your body is only immune to the strain you had originally. Additionally, even if you missed the flu shot in October it is not too late to get it.
Find out more about the flu in our only Flu Quiz.