The truth about flu shots

December 27, 2017 | by Sivakami Krishnan, MD
Categories: Healthy Driven Life

Each fall, health organizations begin an annual push for people to get flu shots.

Unfortunately, less than half of the adult population takes heed and actually gets a shot. Maybe, relatively young, healthy people think, why bother? Perhaps you’ve even seen a social media post claiming flu shots make you sick.

There’s a lot of misinformation posted on the internet and social media on just about every topic. Flu vaccines are no exception.

The truth is, flu vaccines can save you (and others) from a lot of sickness. Even if you’re healthy.

Let’s examine some common misconceptions:

  • The flu vaccine will give you the flu. This isn’t possible. Flu vaccines are made with viruses that are inactive and not infectious. The only side effect you may feel from the vaccine is some soreness or redness at the injection site.
  • If you’re healthy, you don’t need a shot. Actually, you do—to protect other, less healthy people. A healthy person who comes down with the flu will feel miserable, but will likely survive. Others, such as seniors or infants, or those with compromised immune systems, won’t fare as well. If you stay healthy, more people stay healthy.
  • Flu shots don’t work anyway. It’s true that how well the flu shot works varies from season to season. However, it always works. It can reduce your risk of illness, and protect others from catching the flu from you.
  • The thimerosal in some shots can be harmful to your body. The Food and Drug Administration reports thimerosal has a long record of safe and effective use in preventing bacterial and fungal contamination of vaccines, and does not cause ill effects other than hypersensitivity and minor local reactions at the injection site. Thimerosal used in vaccines contains ethylmercury, which is not the same as methylmercury, the mercury found in fish. Many vaccines today are formulated in single doses without thimerosal.

Even though the flu season has already started, it’s not too late to get a flu shot. Protect yourself and those around you – get vaccinated!

Get a flu shot for $15 (cash only, no insurance accepted, while supplies last) at our Immediate Care Centers in Hinsdale, Oak Park and North Naperville! Get hours and wait times.

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