The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that every individual, who is older than six months of age (with rare exceptions about which you can read on this website), should get the yearly influenza vaccine (flu shot). This also includes pregnant women, who are more susceptible to the flu, since they have a weaker immune system than others.
But, we all have had our family members and friends share their reservations with us regarding their fears of getting the flu shot. Most of these concerns, however, stem from myths or half-truths. There is no lack of misconceptions regarding false information spread about the vaccine itself.
We have dispelled the misinformation for you and have listed down some of the most common myths and their respective facts to bust these lies once and for all.
Myth 1: One can catch the flu from the influenza vaccine.
Fact: The influenza vaccine consists of an inactivated virus. This virus, therefore, cannot transmit any infections in the person.
It usually takes around one to two weeks to get protection from the Flu Shot. But, one must keep in mind that several flu viruses are circulating all the time and the vaccine’s composition is specific to one of its strains. It can be possible that one is affected by a different strain of the virus and gets the flu. Nonetheless, getting a flu shot is still highly encouraged as it significantly reduces the risk of getting the flu.
Myth 2: The Influenza Vaccine can lead to having severe symptoms such as breathing problems, dizziness and weakness.
Fact: Flu Shots can have side effects, like getting any other medication or supplements (including vitamins). However, most of them tend to have milder symptoms. This includes:
- Soreness and/or Swelling (where the shot was given)
- Headache (mild)
- Muscle aches
- Fainting (in only occasional cases)
Severe reactions are extremely rare. They only last about a couple of minutes to a few hours, if they do occur. These reactions can include:
- Breathing problems
- Hoarseness or Wheezing
- Fast heartbeat
Certain folks, for instance, those who suffer from allergies to egg proteins, are more likely to experience severe allergic reactions. Nevertheless, if you have a history of allergies, you should let your doctor know beforehand.
Myth 3: I don’t need to get the flu shot as I am young and healthy.
Fact: It is highly recommended for people suffering from a chronic illness or those with a weaker immune system to get vaccinated as they are more vulnerable to the flu. However, anyone can benefit from it – even younger and healthier individuals.
Myth 4: It is unnecessary to get the flu shot every year as the vaccine is the same.
Fact: The virus strains, that cause the seasonal flu outbreak, constantly undergo mutations (changes). As a result, the respective year’s vaccine is updated to provide safety against the virus that is most likely to make people sick that year. Additionally, the immunity provided by the flu shot also decreases over time, making it essential to get a shot every year.
There is an endless list of myths regarding the flu shot. The bottom line is that they are merely myths that should be taken with a grain of salt. If you are ever unsure about any information regarding any vaccine, make it a priority to verify the information from credible health sources.
Despite the fact that serious side effects are rare, you can always reach out to Annie’s Place for health care assistance. Our caregivers assist each patient with their own unique needs. Please do not hesitate to call us to discuss how we can help you.