5 myths about flu shots

December 27, 2017 | by Siva 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 and 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.

There are common misconceptions about flu shots. Check out these 5 myths:

  1. MYTH: The flu vaccine will give you the flu.
    This isn’t possible. Flu vaccines are made with viruses that are either inactive and not infectious or made with a single gene from a flu virus (as opposed to the full virus) to boost immunity without causing an infection.

  2. MYTH: 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.

  3. MYTH: 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 chances of catching a flu virus by 70 to 90 percent, and protect others from catching the flu from you.

  4. MYTH: 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.

  5. MYTH: It's too late to get the flu shot.
    Although flu activity peaks between December and February most years, the season can last as late as May. While the big push for flu vaccines begins in the fall, it's not too late to get a flu shot later. Just remember, it takes about two weeks for the vaccine to take effect.

Protect yourself and those around you—get vaccinated!

Flu vaccines are available through your primary care physician. Schedule the next available appointment online now.

Our Immediate Care Centers and Walk-In Clinics also offer flu shots. No appointment needed. Walk in any time. Check locations and wait times.

Did you already get a flu shot? Encourage others to get one by sharing this article on social media!

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