When fall rolls around, it’s common to hear of the flu going around your office and neighborhood. Most health experts recommend that you get the shot as soon as flu season starts. However, not everyone does this thanks to some ridiculous myths that pass around about the flu vaccination. We’re here to bust those myths and provide the actual facts. Here are some things about the flu and the flu vaccine that you shouldn’t believe.1 2
1. You Don’t Need The Flu Shot If You’re Healthy
It’s true that the people most vulnerable to complications are the elderly and the very young, but this doesn’t exclude healthy people from experiencing symptoms. You can still pass on the virus to vulnerable people. Getting the vaccine helps prevent the virus from making its rounds throughout the entire community, eventually reaching some vulnerable people.
2. You Can’t Pass On The Flu If You Have No Symptoms
Not everyone who contracts the flu shows symptoms. So, even if you don’t have the sniffles or a high temperature, you can still pass on the flu to other people through a simple sneeze.
3. Flu Shots Cause You To Get The Flu
Getting the vaccine does not mean that you will get the flu. The vaccine contains a crippled version of the virus which activates the antibodies in your body to keep you protected from the flu. Some people may experience certain reactions like swelling around the site of injection. They may also experience a mild fever with aches. This is simply the body reacting to a foreign substance entering the body.
4. Washing Your Hands Is Enough To Keep You Protected
Yes, washing your hands is a great hygiene practice and definitely should be continued. However, the influenza virus can travel airborne through droplets of saliva. You can also get it by touching contaminated surfaces.
5. You Don’t Need To Get The Vaccine Every Year
The effectiveness of the vaccine deteriorates over time so it’s wise to get the vaccine every year to keep your immunity at it’s best.
6. Pregnant Women Should Not Get The Vaccine
Contracting the flu during pregnancy can increase the risk of complications and miscarriage. Getting the vaccine reduces the likelihood of this happening. Not to mention, your infant will get the protective effects of the antibodies through the mother, during pregnancy and after delivery through breast milk.
7. Antibiotics Can Treat A Flu
Unfortunately, the flu can’t be treated with antibiotics but there are medications that may help shorten the course of the flu by a day or two. You can also try to treat your symptoms with painkillers, decongestants, and fever-reducing pills.
8. Flu Shots Cause Alzheimer’s Disease
There is no evidence to back up this claim. Since doctors are not sure about how Alzheimer’s disease develops, this leaves room for a lot of baseless speculation. It’s possible this myth arose because senior citizens are recommended to get the flu shot regularly. If they show signs of memory loss a few months, people make this connection when they are completely unrelated.
9. The Stomach Flu Is Caused By The Same Virus
The flu can sometimes come with symptoms like nausea and vomiting, especially in children. However, these are not the main symptoms of influenza. The flu is a respiratory disease and not one that affects the stomach directly. The term stomach flu is just a term used to describe food poisoning or other gastrointestinal issues. It has nothing to do with the influenza virus.
10. If You Still Get Sick, The Shot Didn’t Work
There are many strains of influenza that make their rounds every year and it can be difficult for doctors to predict which ones will be most common. If you still get the flu, it’s possible you were vaccinated with a different strain than that one you contracted. However, the antibodies created by the vaccine will still help by reducing the severity of your symptoms. So it’s definitely still worth getting the shot.
11. It Is Better To Get Sick Than Get Vaccinated
Flu can become a serious matter, especially among young children, the elderly, and people with chronic health conditions, like asthma, heart disease or diabetes. Even among healthy children and adults, the flu infection has the potential to result in complications and hospitalization.
The benefits of getting the vaccine far outweigh any risks associated. If you do have concerns about adverse reactions, talk to your doctor about risk factors. Let your doctor know about any allergies that you have or other chronic medical conditions. They will help you make the right choice that’s safest for you and your family. Get your flu shot soon!