Every year, we know that flu season is coming. Without fail, December winds seem to blow in a whole new strain of influenza. And yet despite knowing it’s coming and understanding the risks associated with the flu, many people fail to recognize the importance of getting an annual flu vaccine. Some people think they’re immune, others believe it makes them sick. The myths about the flu shot are numerous, but the truth is simple: Getting an annual flu vaccination is the best way to reduce your risk of becoming sick.
Myths About the Flu Shot
The flu vaccine will make you sick.
This might be one of the most common myths about the flu shot. Yes, it is true that flu vaccines are made with inactivated strains of the flu virus, but it is not true that getting the vaccine will give you the flu. The most common side effects associated with the shot include tenderness around the injection site, swelling in the area, and redness. Sometimes patients report low-grade fevers and muscle aches, but those symptoms usually resolve themselves one or two days later.
If you get the flu vaccine, you definitely won’t get the flu.
If the flu vaccine worked 100 percent of the time, everyone would be lining up at their nearest drugstore months before flu season even began. Unfortunately, this is just a myth. No flu vaccine works 100 percent of the time. That’s because several strains of the flu can spread at once. But that doesn’t mean you should take the risk and skip this year’s vaccination. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), “The flu vaccine prevents millions of illnesses and flu-related doctor’s visits each year. For example, during 2016-2017, flu vaccination prevented an estimated 5.3 million influenza illnesses, 2.6 million influenza-associated medical visits, and 85,000 influenza-associated hospitalizations.”
One version of the flu vaccine is better than another.
While new flu vaccines are introduced each year to combat that year’s strain of influenza, the CDC doesn’t recommended one licensed flu vaccination over another. If you have questions about which strains of the disease are affecting your area, talk with your doctor to see if there’s a specific flu vaccine they recommend. A patient’s age, health, and allergies can sometimes determine which vaccine is most appropriate.
I never get the flu, so I don’t need the vaccine.
If you’re one of the few people who hasn’t caught the flu in the last few years, consider yourself lucky. Each year, the flu spreads quickly and aggressively. While vaccines can’t guarantee you won’t catch the flu, they greatly reduce your risk. And because the strain of influenza changes almost every year, it’s impossible to know if your body is immune or strong enough to fight off this year’s version. Your best bet at staying healthy all winter long is to get this year’s flu vaccine.
The flu isn’t that bad.
Of all the myths about the flu shot, this might be the most serious. Influenza is a significant disease, especially for the elderly and young. Once a flu infection sets in, it can cause serious harm to your body. Hospitalization and even death can result from the flu. If you start feeling sick, don’t wait for your symptoms to worsen. Call your doctor right away.
I got the flu vaccine last year, so I don’t need to get it this year.
Wrong. The flu is a constantly changing virus, which is why the CDC releases a new and updated vaccination each year. Getting an annual flu shot is the best way to avoid the flu.
It’s too late in the year to get a flu shot.
If you haven’t gotten your flu shot yet, don’t worry! It’s not too late. While America’s flu season tends to occur during the winter months, from December through February, you can still reduce your risk of catching the flu by getting vaccinated even in the middle of this year’s flu outbreak.
If you haven’t already gotten your flu shot this year, don’t let myths about the flu shot keep you from protecting yourself against the virus. If you have questions or concerns or would like to schedule a vaccination, call your doctor.
Maintaining an active lifestyle is key to your overall health and mental wellness, which is why it’s part of our focus at Springhouse Village. We’re committed to providing a friendly and healthy atmosphere where our residents can thrive. To learn about the many things we do to support the health and well-being of our residents, contact Springhouse Village today.