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4 Major Flu Myths Busted!

October 25, 2017 | By Kristen Printy

A patient receiving a flu shot

The flu seems to be a mystery to most people. Over the year's various misconceptions and myths have even caused people to avoid vaccination. Unfortunately, avoiding the vaccine increases the risk of spreading influenza to everyone. To shed light on these misconceptions, we're debunking four major flu myths.

Myth #1: Getting the Flu Shot Can Give Me the Flu

This is probably the most common flu myth and the biggest reason why many people avoid flu vaccinations altogether. The truth of the matter is you have no chance of catching the flu from the vaccine. That's right; there is a zero percent chance of catching the flu through the vaccination! The flu vaccine is made from inactive strains that teach your body to recognize the virus and build up immunity to the flu. FluMist, which is a weakened live version of the flu virus, may cause headaches, low-grade fevers, and muscle aches, but it still does not cause the flu. Contracting the flu from a flu vaccination is impossible.

Myth #2: The Flu Vaccine Makes You Immune to the Flu

Stop the spread of influenzaNo, the flu shot doesn't make you immune to influenza viruses. There is no such thing as being immune to the flu. The flu vaccine may help you avoid getting the flu, or you may contract a weaker form of the flu. Researchers are responsible for guessing which forms of the flu will be most prevalent each year. This is an educated guess. More often than not though, these guesses are correct. The flu vaccine is 47 percent effective in preventing type A influenza and 67 percent effective at preventing type B.

Myth #3: Flu Shots are Primarily for the Children, the Elderly, or Sick

When you’re young, it's easy to feel invincible. However, the flu can strike anyone, including healthy, young adults. When only a third of people ages 18-64 choose to vaccinate against the flu, it means an increase in medical care. This diverts the time and attention of doctors away from more vulnerable age groups who are often more severely affected by the flu. Getting vaccinated, even if you're young and healthy, can help you stay out of the hospital, conserving resources for the people who need them.

Myth #4: Flu Vaccine Side Effects are Worse Than the Flu

Vaccines prevent fluFlu vaccines do have several common side effects. The most common of these include itching, aches, fatigue, fever, headache, hoarseness, cough, and soreness and swelling at the injection site. Young children may experience febrile seizures which are short seizures that don't cause long-term damage. These are rare. An allergic reaction is the most severe risk flu vaccines pose. These may occur in 1 out of every 1 million to 2 million doses. Of course, the flu is much more serious and can be fatal.

Because flu can cause death, even in the healthy, it is incredibly important for people to be immunized. Immunization reduces the risk of infection. If an infection does occur, it typically reduces the severity of the illness. If you'd like to learn more about flu vaccines or make an appointment to obtain one, you should contact your doctor.