Wondering if you could get the flu from a flu shot? Or if you could get the flu even if you’ve had a shot? You’re not alone. With so much information – and misinformation – out there it’s worth reading up so you can spot common myths and take action to protect yourself and your family from the flu.
Here are 6 common myths about the flu that everyone should know:
MYTH: A flu shot can give you the flu.
You cannot get the flu from a flu shot. The flu shot is made from a virus that’s been inactivated (“killed”) or from a single gene of the flu virus, rather than the full virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). If you get sick right after getting a shot, the flu or another virus might have already been in your body.
MYTH: The flu is just a bad cold.
The flu does cause some of the same symptoms as a cold, like a sore throat, cough and runny nose. But it can also cause a high fever, painful body aches and vomiting. Flu symptoms can become so severe that you may need to be hospitalized. In some serious cases, the flu can cause death.
That said, try not to fear your symptoms. A fever is part of your body’s natural defense system, and that’s a good thing, but it can make you feel lousy. If symptoms do worsen, get the reassurance you need by speaking to a doctor or medical professional.
MYTH: You don’t need to get a flu shot every year.
The viruses that cause the flu change every year. Each year’s flu shot is developed to help give you immunity to a few of the flu viruses that health experts expect to be the most rampant and common in the upcoming flu season, as the CDC explains. So you do need a flu shot every year.
MYTH: Healthy people don’t need to get a flu shot.
Everyone should get a flu shot, with very few exceptions. Yearly shots are recommended for everyone older than 6 months, including pregnant women and older adults.
MYTH: I got a flu shot but still got the flu, so it doesn’t work.
There are a few different types of flu viruses. Flu shots vaccinate you against common strains for this flu season, but you could still catch a different type. Also, it takes a couple of weeks for the shot to work, so it’s possible to catch the flu in that time. However, getting a flu shot improves your chances of being protected.
MYTH: If I have a high fever with the flu, I’ll need an antibiotic.
Antibiotics work against bacteria but aren’t effective against viruses, such as the flu. However, some people get a bacterial infection as a complication of the flu. So it’s a good idea to get checked out.
And remember – if you do feel flu symptoms coming on, use LiveHealth Online to see a doctor right away. Fast care can make a difference in how quickly you recover!