Top 5 Myths About the Flu Vaccine

Like it or not, flu season is ramping up in Michigan. Now is the time to protect yourself and your family by getting a flu vaccine. This one simple step can keep you and your loved ones healthy through the winter while also safeguarding those around you who are at a higher risk for complications from the flu (thousands of Americans die each year from flu-related complications, including many seniors, babies and people with certain health conditions). If for some reason you aren’t convinced a flu shot is a smart idea, keep reading to find out if one of these myths is stopping you from getting protected.

MYTH #1: You can catch the flu from the vaccine.
You will not get the flu from a flu shot. The flu vaccine is made of inactive viral particles, meaning it doesn’t contain the live virus. You may experience some side effects like muscle aches or a mild fever, but that’s due to your body producing protective antibodies.

MYTH #2: You don’t need to get a flu shot every year.
The most common viruses that cause influenza change every year, so in order to stay protected, you need a current flu shot. This year’s vaccine is designed to protect against the three or four flu viruses strains that researchers believe are the most likely to spread.

MYTH #3: I have to go to my doctor to get a flu shot.
There’s no need to make an appointment to see your primary care doctor to get your flu shot. There are other places you can go to get one, including many drugstores and grocery stores with pharmacies. Urgent Care Centers also offer walk-in flu shots at little or no cost to you.

MYTH #4: Healthy people don’t need the flu vaccine.
Everyone should get the flu shot, even if you have the strongest immune system in the world. That’s because you’re likelier to pass the virus along to others if you don’t have the vaccine. And don’t use the old “I’ve never gotten the flu shot before and have never gotten the flu” excuse. There are new strains each year and you never know when you might get sick.

MYTH #5: Pregnant women shouldn’t get the flu shot.
It’s actually very important for pregnant women to get the flu shot since changes in their immune system makes them even more vulnerable. Studies have shown that the vaccine can even help to protect the baby after birth. Just make sure to tell the person administering the vaccine if you are pregnant so you’re given the correct vaccine form.

Photo credit: Eaglesky

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