Flu myths debunked

Flu Shot

Ready or not, here comes the flu season!  Will you get your flu shot this year?  What do you really know about the flu shot?  Natalie Lickteig, Nurse Practitioner and MinuteClinic Missouri Statewide Manager, debunked the top five flu shot myths.

Myth #1: It is too early to get a seasonal flu shot.

Not at all! Flu season usually peaks in January or February, but cases of the flu can occur as early as this month.

Myth #2: The flu shot can give you the flu.

No! This is the biggest myth out there about the flu vaccine. The flu shot is made from an inactivated flu virus, so it cannot give you the flu. If you get flu-like symptoms after getting the flu shot, it’s likely because you got sick from another virus that wasn’t the flu, or you were exposed to the flu after you got vaccinated but before the vaccine took effect, which can be up to 2 weeks.

Myth #3: If you got the flu vaccine last year, you don’t have to get it again this year.

Wrong! It’s important to get the flu vaccine every year. Your body loses its immunity to the virus over time, and new strains of the flu appear each year. Getting vaccinated before each flu season rebuilds your immunity and protects against the strains that are predicted to be most common that season.

Myth #4: There are serious side effects caused by the flu vaccine.

Not at all! The only real side effect might be soreness or redness where the shot was administered.

Myth #5: Natural immunity or living a healthy lifestyle is better than getting immunity from the flu shot.

Not true! Eating right, exercising and getting plenty of rest can help prevent the flu, but the No. 1 way to avoid getting the flu is a flu vaccine. Even if you have avoided the flu in the past, it doesn’t make you less susceptible. So, we’re encouraging everyone to get flu shots.

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