Let’s Talk About the Flu Virus and Flu Vaccines Part 3

He who cures a disease may be the skillfullest, but he that prevents it is the safest physician. 

—-Thomas Fuller, an English churchman and historian (1608 – 16 August 1661)

Myths about the Flu vaccine

Myth #1:  “Every time I get the flu shot I get the flu.”

Truth: When you have gotten the flu shot in the past, you may have had a mild immunologic reaction common with all vaccines. This reaction can cause a low grade fever and some malaise, but it is not the flu.  Additionally, if you wait too long into the season to get the flu vaccine, you may already have been exposed to the virus.

Myth #2: “I never get the flu shot and I never get sick.”

Truth: This may be true. However, the flu virus mutates every year and this causes a slightly different virus every year.  Every few years, the virus is completely different, so even if you didn’t get the flu last year, you are still vulnerable to getting the flu this year.

Myth #3:  “I got the flu shot 2 years ago, so I am covered.”

Truth: As in previous answer, the flu vaccine only covers an individual for the current flu season (now 2013-2014).  In order to be protected, you need to receive a new vaccine every year. Additionally, getting infected with the flu does not offer immunity either.

Myth #4: “Only babies and old people need the flu shot.”

Truth: Babies and older people are more susceptible to serious flu virus consequences due to age and lowered immunity. However, anyone can get infected with the flu and those with chronic diseases (such as diabetes, asthma, cardiac conditions) should receive flu vaccine no matter the age. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advise all individuals, 6 months and older, to get the flu vaccine.

Myth #5: “I am pregnant/breast feeding and I don’t think I should get a flu shot”

Truth: This is exactly the time to receive a flu vaccine.  Pregnant women are susceptible to infection and if infected, can pass the virus on to their fetus. This can cause severe consequences for the baby—even death.  If a woman is breastfeeding and gets sick, she may pass the virus on to her newborn while breastfeeding (flu virus is not passed through breast milk, but since Mom may sneeze or cough with baby close to her face, she may pass on virus in this manner).  Breastfeeding Moms who are sick should wear a mask and a flu vaccine can prevent the infection in the first place.

 flu shot image

More questions or concerns about the flu or flu vaccines?  Call us at 307-8087 or come by the office and Dr. Days will be happy to answer them.


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