Five Myths About The Flu Shot
Has anyone ever told you they got the flu from getting a flu shot? Well, the truth is that it's an "inactivated vaccine," meaning the actual virus has already been killed. So it can't give you the flu. It just tells your immune system to make antibodies.
They say the nasal spray version of the shot does have a weakened form of the active virus, which can give you flu-like symptoms. Here are five more flu shot myths you might have heard.
Here are some common myths followed by what the experts say. Remember: Always consult your physician.
- Getting a Flu Shot Immediately Protects You. Actually, it takes up to two weeks for your body to build up enough antibodies to fight off the flu.
And even then, it's not 100% effective, because it only protects you from the three strains that are expected to be most widespread that year. Still, if you so get sick, a flu shot usually prevents you from getting really sick.
- You Don't Need a Flu Shot Every Year. The doctors say you do, because new, stronger strains of the flu pop up every season. So even if you got one last year, you're still at risk this year.
In fact, even if you get the flu, you should still go get a shot so you don't catch a second strain of it.
- Only Old People Need Flu Shots. It's more important for seniors, because it's a bigger deal if they get sick. The same goes if you're pregnant, or you have a medical condition like asthma or diabetes.
But medical experts say that it's important for younger people to get flu shots too, because they tend to spend more time outside where they can catch something.
- The Flu Shot Is Safe for Everyone. If you've ever had an allergic reaction to eggs, you should talk to your doctor first, because the virus for the flu vaccine is grown in chicken eggs.
It's also not safe for babies younger than 6 months old, or people with an autoimmune disorder called Guillain-Barré.
- Flu Shots Also Protect Against Stomach Flu. Actually, stomach flu isn't really the FLU. It just feels like it because both involve a lot of time near toilets.