While the flu season may have already started, it is never too late to receive the flu vaccine to protect yourself against the influenza virus! If you have hesitated about getting the flu shot for one reason or another, this might be due to some popular misconceptions about the vaccine. If you are concerned about any potential issues or side effects, we’ve got the facts for you! Here are 4 common myths about the flu shot debunked:
1. The Flu Vaccine Can Give You the Flu
You may have heard someone tell you that they caught the flu as a result of receiving the flu vaccine. However, the truth is that the viruses in the flu shot are dead and not infectious. The only side effects you might experience after the flu shot are a mild fever or a feeling of fatigue, as well as possible swelling or soreness where you received the shot. These issues are not serious and usually go away quickly. In the rare case that you experience a serious side effect such as trouble breathing or a fast heartbeat, you should contact your doctor immediately.
2. It Is Not Necessary to Receive an Annual Flu Vaccine
One of the other common myths about the flu shot is that it is not necessary to receive the vaccine every year. Since your immune protection from the vaccination declines over time, it is indeed imperative to get an annual vaccine for the optimal protection against the flu. In fact, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that nearly everyone 6 months and older receive the flu vaccine each year. This is the case even when the protected viruses have not changed from the prior season.
3. Flu Shots Are Not Effective
Some folks feel that flu shots are not effective and it is not worth the time or effort to receive the vaccine. The CDC has conducted annual studies to determine how successful a season’s vaccine protects individuals from the influenza virus. The most recent studies have indicated that the flu vaccine reduces the risk of getting the flu anywhere between 40 and 60 percent. While the effectiveness of the vaccine may vary by age, you are always better off receiving the vaccine than not receiving it.
4. It is Too Late in the Season for the Flu Shot
After the first few weeks or even months of the flu season have passed, you might just shrug your shoulders and say that it is too late in the season to even bother. The truth is that the flu vaccine is still helpful as long as the viruses are out there, which could be as late as April or May! While it is best to receive the vaccine by the end of October, it is never too late to receive your flu shot. Just remember that the longer you wait, the more susceptible you become to the possibility of the flu.
We hope that these facts about the flu shot have encouraged you to receive your vaccine and stay protected against the influenza virus! At Mac’s Pharmacy, we are dedicated to improving the quality of your health, so learn more about how we can assist you with all of your pharmaceutical needs!