The Truth About Flu Shots

Knowing the Facts

MYTH: The flu shot will give me the flu.
FACT: The flu shot cannot cause the flu – the vaccine is made up of either inactive viruses or none at all.

MYTH: Sometimes it’s better to just get the flu than get the vaccine.
FACT: The flu can cause serious complications, including hospitalization and death, so the best method of obtaining immunity is to get vaccinated.

MYTH: I got the flu shot last year – I don’t need one this year.
FACT: Regardless of whether or not the flu virus has changed year to year, for the best and strongest immune protection, an annual vaccination is needed.

MYTH: It’s highly likely I’ll have a strong allergic reaction to the flu shot.
FACT: Reactions to flu shots are usually mild and uncommon. Some soreness or swelling can occur for a few days where the shot was given, but this is simply a natural bodily response. Strong reactions are very rare and typically occur within a few minutes or hours of the vaccination and can be effectively treated.

MYTH: My friend got a flu shot but still got sick, so it doesn’t work.
FACT: There are a variety of reasons this might happen – (1) flu symptoms are often confused with cold symptoms, from which the flu shot doesn’t protect; (2) the vaccination can take up to two weeks to take effect; and (3) not all strains of the flu virus are covered in the vaccine.

MYTH: The flu vaccine will help me from getting the stomach flu.
FACT: The flu is respiratory, while what people call “stomach flu” is intestinal and is an unrelated condition. While you can suffer from some nausea and vomiting symptoms from the flu, these aren’t traditionally the main symptoms.

MYTH: I’m healthy, so I don’t need a flu vaccine.
FACT: While children, seniors and those with chronic illnesses are most susceptible to the flu, it’s still a good idea for others to get an annual flu shot to prevent spreading the disease to the most vulnerable.

MYTH: A flu shot is all I need to keep me from contracting the flu.
FACT: Protecting yourself from the flu is more than just the shot – remember to wash your hands often and keep away from people infected with the flu.

MYTH: Feed a cold, and starve a fever.
FACT: It’s true that you should focus on fluids when you have a fever and/or the flu, but there’s no reason to decrease your food intake. In fact, poor nutrition might curb your recovery.

MYTH: My flu-related fever has lasted a few days, so I need antibiotics.
FACT: Antibiotics fight bacteria, not viral infections like the flu. However, your flu can spur bacterial infections, though, so it’s best to see your doctor if your flu symptoms drag on.


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