Test Your Knowledge of Flu Vaccines With These 8 Common Myths About Getting Vaccinated

Flu season is back and with the cold Michigan weather it is important to know the facts about the flu vaccine.

Below are some common misconceptions about the flu and flu vaccine. Make sure you are prepared for illness this winter and know the facts from the myths. In addition to a maintaining a healthy diet and exercising through the cold winter months, getting your flu vaccine is recommended by health experts to avoid catching the dreaded virus.

Myth #1: Influenza is no more than a nuisance, much like the common cold.

Fact: Influenza, commonly referred to as “the flu,” is a severe respiratory illness that spreads easily and can lead to severe complications, even death. You can help avoid getting influenza by getting vaccinated each year.

Myth #2: You can get influenza from a flu shot.

Fact: The flu shot does not contain the live virus so it is impossible to get influenza from the vaccine.

Myth #3: Only the elderly are at risk for developing serious complications from the influenza virus.

Fact: Influenza impacts people of all ages. However, a significant number of people in the US are at a higher risk for getting sick or developing serious complications from influenza, including young children and the elderly. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan* recently announced a plan to support national efforts to help underserved populations, such as the uninsured, get access to the flu vaccine.

Myth #4: I missed the chance to get a flu vaccine in the fall, so now I have to wait until next year.

Fact: You and your loved ones can get vaccinated at any point during flu season.

Myth #5: It is not necessary to get immunized against influenza every year if you were immunized in the past.

Fact: The types of influenza viruses circulating in the community change from year to year. Because of this, a new vaccine is made each year to help protect against the current strains.

Myth #6: People shouldn’t be immunized against influenza if they are sick.

Fact: Minor illnesses with or without fever should not prevent vaccination, especially in children with mild upper respiratory infections (colds) or upper respiratory allergies. In addition, vaccination is critically important for people with chronic illnesses, such as asthma, diabetes, and heart disease who have a higher risk for developing influenza-related complications.

Myth #7: I seem to get the stomach flu each year. My friend told me the influenza vaccine might prevent the stomach flu next year.

Fact: Many common respiratory and stomach infections are often mistakenly referred to as “the flu.” Influenza vaccine helps protect against influenza virus but not against viral gastroenteritis, often referred to as the “stomach flu.”

Myth #8: The flu changes every year, so getting a flu shot will not protect me from getting sick.

Fact: Influenza is unpredictable and viruses change throughout the year. That is why the composition of the influenza vaccine changes each year as well.

Get Your Shot

Getting vaccinated annually is the best way to help protect against influenza. Visit the CDC website to learn more: www.cdc.gov/flu. There is still time to get your flu shot: Click here to find a flu clinic near you.

*Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan is the sponsor of A Healthier Michigan

Photo by:  Sanofi Pasteur

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