Getting a flu shot this fall? You might have heard a few rumors about flu shots that stopped you from getting one. Most of the rumors you've heard are myths. Click ahead to read 5 flu shot myths, the truth behind them, and what you can do to avoid getting sick this flu season.
Myth #1. The flu vaccine can give you the flu.
The flu shot is made of inactivated (dead) virus particles, so it can't actually make you sick. You could still catch the flu somewhere else, after the shot, because it takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body.
Myth #2. The flu vaccine is dangerous.
The flu shot is completely safe, if you're in good health. Some people with certain conditions-- egg allergies, a condition called Guillain-Barre, and people recovering from infections are warned against taking a flu shot, for reasons that the shot could complicate their existing problems. The shot alone, taken by a person in good health, is not dangerous.
Myth #3. If you are young and healthy, you don't need to get vaccinated.
The flu can be a devastating disease even for a young healthy person. Influenza pandemics killed millions of people only a hundred years ago. The flu virus can act quickly and cause big problems in the young and old.
Myth #4. The vaccine isn't effective.
The flu shot isn't 100 percent effective at guarding against the flu. In fact, a study published in The Lancet indicated it was effective about 59 percent of the time. Despite this fact, it's still the best defense we have against the flu. 59% is better odds than your odds without the shot.
Myth #5. The shot hurts.
Unfortunately this myth is true. Shots hurt, no matter how young or old you are. However, not all flu inoculations are done with a syringe. If you absolutely can't do needles there are alternatives, but they might cost more.
The best defense against the flu is prevention. The flu shot is a powerful form of prevention, but hand washing and flu kits are also great prevention tools.
What's your experience with flu shots? Did it work for you? Did it make you sick? Or did it help you avoid the flu? What did your doctor recommend? Shoot us a comment and let us know!