Myths About The Flu Shot
Flu season is upon us, and it’s just in time to ruin that winter getaway you planned with your partner or that flight home you spent a pretty penny on to visit your family. Doesn’t it always feel like the flu waits in the wings to pounce until the very moment you really need to be healthy? Or want to be, because it’s during your much-needed vacation? Well, some of that may be true, but there are other things at play. When you’re stressed out, your immune system takes a hit. And you’re likely the most stressed out just around the holidays when you’re working extra to fund all those presents and airplane trips. And then there’s the fact that the flu virus is just the strongest at this time of year. The flu shot can put some of these issues to rest but it’s important to know the facts, first. Here are myths about the flu shot.
Myth: The flu is not a big deal
Because so many people get the flu each year, and we have so much modern medicine to fight it off, it’s easy to believe that the flu is not a big deal. In fact, some people just accept that they’ll get it, annually, as a normal part of life.
Fact: The flu can get worse
The flu is a serious upper respiratory condition that can sometimes cause even more life-threatening illnesses. It can even be fatal. The flu is not to be taken lightly. It is very different from the common cold. In fact, the word “common” doesn’t come before “flu” for a reason.
Myth: The vaccine makes me sick
Many individuals believe that the flu shot can make them sick, because they wind up contracting the flu within a couple of weeks of getting the vaccine. They also believe this since the vaccine carries the virus.
Fact: The virus is not alive
The virus in the vaccine is not alive and cannot infect you. If someone gets sick slightly after getting the shot, it’s likely because they came in contact with a different strain they weren’t protected against.
Myth: I never get the flu, so I won’t get it
Some people believe that if they’ve never gotten the flu up until this point, then they never will. There is a misunderstanding that how the flu affected one in past years is an indicator of how it will affect them in present day.
Fact: The virus changes each year
The flu virus transforms and mutates every year, and there are several viruses going around. Your immune system may have, for some reason, stood up against old strains but that doesn’t mean it will fight off new ones.
Myth: I’m healthy so it will go away quickly
Those who have an immaculate immune system can believe that, even if they do get the flu, it won’t be a big deal, and it will go away quickly.
Fact: The virus can be very strong
The virus can be very strong, and can knock out the heartiest of immune systems. If you believe in the past that you got the virus, and your body knocked it out, that probably isn’t true—you likely just didn’t get it at all in the past. If you do, though, you’ll probably feel it.
Myth: The flu shot won’t protect me
Some say, “If I’m going to get the flu, I’m going to get it” and believe that the flu shot is ineffective. They think if the virus enters their body, it’s over for them.
Fact: It reduces risk
The flu shot reduces your risk of getting sick. If you come in contact with one of the strains that the vaccine protects against, you are much less likely to become sick than someone who didn’t get the shot.
Myth: The flu shot is a sure thing
Then there are individuals who become outraged when they get the flu shot, and still get the flu. They may call their doctor or pharmacy asking for a refund on the shot.
Fact: It deters most strains
The vaccine deters the most common strains of the flu, but it doesn’t protect against all of them. Because the flu virus is constantly changing, it’s hard for doctors to create a vaccine that protects against all strains, 100 percent of the time.
Myth: I got the shot last year, so I’m set
Since some types of vaccines remain effective for ten years, or even a lifetime, some people believe that they just need to get the flu shot once in their lifetime…or once every five years.
Fact: The virus changes
Since, as previously stated, the virus transforms every year and mutates into new strains, last year’s vaccine is not effective against this year’s strains.
Get the shot
Ultimately, it’s best to get the vaccine. It doesn’t 100 percent guarantee that you won’t get sick, but it’s one more thing you can do, in addition to living a healthy lifestyle, to prevent against this nasty illness.