According to the Centers for Disease Control, flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and sometimes the lungs. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. The CDC estimates that influenza has resulted in between 9.3 million – 49.0 million illnesses, between 140,000 – 960,000 hospitalizations and between 12,000 – 79,000 deaths annually since 2010.
Studies have proven that the best way to prevent the flu is by getting a vaccine each year. But there are quite a few myths out there about the flu and reasons why some choose not to get a flu shot. We are going to debunk three of the most popular myths, so you can focus on staying healthy this season!
Myth #1 – You can get the flu from the flu vaccine
Because the injected flu vaccine is made from an inactive virus and the nasal flu mist is made from a weakened live virus, neither of these vaccines can give a healthy person the flu. Some people may experience side effects from the flu vaccine such as swelling, soreness, fever and muscle aches for 1-2 days after receiving the shot, but this is not the flu.
Myth #2 – I never get the flu, so I don’t need the vaccine
Unfortunately, just because you’ve never had the flu before doesn’t mean you’ll have a flu-free future. Flu strains evolve and change over time, which means you are at risk every year that you avoid getting vaccinated. In addition, when you skip your shot you can still carry and pass flu germs on to others.
Myth #3 – I’ve had the flu vaccine before and I still got the flu, so it doesn’t work
Several flu viruses are circulating all the time, which is why a person may still get the flu despite being vaccinated since the vaccine is specific to one strain. However, being vaccinated improves the chance of being protected from the flu and it can greatly reduce the risk and severity of the infection.
Flu is a very serious and potentially fatal illness and the best way to prevent it is by receiving a flu shot once a year before the end of October. At American Family Care, we are stocked with flu vaccines, so visit your local AFC – no appointment needed – and protect you and your family with a flu shot today.