Top 5 Flu Vaccine Myths Busted
The only thing with a worse reputation than the flu is the flu vaccine. New questions and myths arise every year, causing more and more confusion about what the vaccine does (and doesn’t) do. So, we decided to bust the top five myths about the flu vaccine and put an end to the confusion!
Myth #1: The flu shot can give you the flu.
Science is way more advanced than this myth gives credit for. There are currently two ways to make the flu shot: through flu vaccine viruses that have been inactivated (and therefore aren’t infectious) or with no flu vaccine virus, such as in the recombinant flu vaccine. The only side effects these shots may produce are soreness, redness, tenderness, or swelling at the injection site. In some cases, individuals may experience low-grade fever, headaches, or muscle aches within a few days of getting their flu vaccine.
Bottom line, there is no live virus in any flu vaccine, making it impossible for a person to get the flu from the flu vaccine. It’s important to note that it can take up to 10 days for the vaccine to become active in the body, so in cases where one contracts the flu shortly after getting a flu shot, it’s likely they contracted it during those first 10 days.
Myth #2: It’s safer to get the flu than the flu vaccine.
Relying on this season’s influenza virus to infect you so that you build immunity is risky business. Aside from having to get the flu every year, you risk the sometimes serious complications—including hospitalization and death—that can accompany the flu. Having the flu can be especially serious for children, older adults, or people with chronic health conditions such as asthma, heart disease, or diabetes. The flu vaccine minimizes these risks substantially.
Myth #3: I should wait to get vaccinated so that my immunity lasts through the end of flu season.
Again, science is way ahead of you here. One flu shot per season is enough to keep an average adult vaccinated for 5-6 months. It is best to get vaccinated as soon as the vaccine becomes available in September and October, but there is still value in getting the shot in January if you must wait. Older adults should discuss high-dose or multiple dose options with their doctor to see if it is necessary.
Myth #4: The ‘stomach flu’ is the same thing as ‘the flu’.
Nope. Influenza is a respiratory disease, not a stomach or intestinal disease. Symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, and nausea can sometimes be related to the flu, but they are rarely the main symptoms of influenza.
Myth #5: You can catch the flu from going out in cold weather with wet hair or without a coat.
Morning rushers rest assured—going out in the cold with wet hair or without a jacket won’t give you the flu. The only way to contract the flu is by being exposed to the virus. Cold and flu season coincide however, and colds love wet-haired, coatless people, so it’s best to bundle up.
We’re sorry to disappoint, but mom’s chicken noodle soup doesn’t speed up the flu either. It helps soothe your sore throat, but the surest way to stave off the flu is to get vaccinated. Whether you’re part of a business or just an individual, we’ve got you covered!