As flu season begins, it’s important to de-bunk the myths associated with getting a flu shot and learn the facts. Carol Uher, RN, CIC, Fairview infection prevention director, helps us separate fact from fiction.
Myth #1: Getting a flu shot is a bad idea because you can get the stomach flu afterward.
Fact: Actually, the “stomach flu” is not the same as the seasonal flu (influenza). Influenza is a contagious upper-respiratory disease that can be prevented by immunization. Influenza attacks your nose, throat and lungs. So while you could still get the stomach flu after getting vaccinated, they’re not related.
Myth #2: But the flu shot can give you influenza, too.
Fact: The influenza shot (also called inactivated vaccine) cannot give you influenza. Vaccine agents have been inactivated (killed) so they do not have the ability to cause illness. A small number of people may experience mild side effects after the flu shot such as soreness, redness, tenderness and swelling at the injection site.
Myth #3: If you’ve been vaccinated in the past, you don’t need another flu shot this year.
Fact: Flu viruses are constantly changing. Each year, the formulation is reviewed and sometimes updated to keep up with changing flu viruses. Also, your immune response from vaccination declines over time, so an annual vaccination is needed for optimal protection.
Myth #4: If you are young and healthy, you do not need the vaccination.
Fact: Wrong again. Anyone can get the flu, even healthy people. In fact, you can pass the virus to others even if you have no symptoms of the flu. You may be able to infect others beginning one day before symptoms develop and up to five to seven days after becoming sick. Getting vaccinated yourself also protects people around you, including those who are more vulnerable to serious flu illness, like babies and young children, pregnant women, older people and people with certain chronic health conditions.
We’re in this flu season together. Show you care about the health of our community by getting your flu vaccination—available at your local Fairview clinic or pharmacy. Call 855-FAIRVIEW to schedule your appointment today or walk into a Fairview pharmacy to get your flu shot.