Debunking Some Common Flu Vaccine Myths

With flu season here, the best way to become a flu fighter is to get a flu shot. Here are some common misconceptions about the shot and why it’s so important to make sure you and your family get one this flu season.

It’s too late to a get a flu vaccine

Vaccinations can be beneficial as long as flu viruses are circulating. The CDC recommends getting a flu shot in the fall, but it can still be protective to get vaccinated in January or later. Flu season usually peaks in January or February but can occur as late as May.

The Flu vaccine works immediately

While the flu vaccine helps protect against the flu virus, the CDC states it can take about two weeks for flu-fighting antibodies to develop in the body. It’s always important to get vaccinated before the flu virus spreads.

The Flu vaccine can make me sick

A flu shot cannot cause the flu illness. Some people do have side effects from the flu vaccine, which can include soreness, redness, tenderness and swelling where the shot was given. A low-grade fever, headache and muscle aches may also occur.

It’s better to get the flu than the flu vaccine

The flu can be a fatal disease at any age, particularly among children younger than 2, older adults, people with chronic health conditions and those who are pregnant. Every flu infection carries the risk of serious complications, hospitalization or death. Receiving the vaccine is a far safer choice than risking serious illness.

I got a flu shot last year so I don’t need one this year

The CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine even when the viruses the vaccine protects against hasn’t changed from the previous season. The effectiveness of flu vaccines decline over time, so vaccinations are needed annually to get the best protection against the flu.

Flu vaccines contain dangerous ingredients like mercury, formaldehyde, antifreeze and nuclear waste

Flu shot ingredients are safe and there are vaccines available for individuals with allergies to eggs or other ingredients like gelatin.

Flu vaccines make it easier for people to get pneumonia or other infectious diseases

Actually, Flu vaccines reduce the risk of pneumonia, other respiratory illnesses or other complications from the flu.

All I need to do to protect myself from the flu is get a flu shot

While getting a flu shot is important it is only one part of your flu-fighting arsenal. Make sure you cover your mouth when you sneeze or cough, wash your hands vigorously for at least 20 seconds several times a day and if you happen to not feel well, stay home from work or school.

You can’t spread the flu if you’re feeling well

You are able to infect other people beginning one day before symptoms develop and up to five to seven days after becoming sick.  That means you may be able to pass the flu to someone else before you know you are sick, as well as while you are sick.   The CDC states that as many as 20 to 30 percent of people carrying the influenza virus have no symptoms.