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Dispelling misinformation about the flu vaccine and getting facts
Posted on November 23, 2020 at 12:28 pm by Clay Curtin
Getting a flu vaccine is more important than ever this year to protect yourself and the people around you from flu, and to help reduce the strain on health care systems responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. If you have ever had the flu, you know how sick you can become. There seems to be no shortage of misinformation when it comes to dealing with the flu and the flu shot.
Can a flu vaccine give you flu?
No, flu vaccines cannot cause flu illness.
Are any of the available flu vaccines recommended over the others?
There are many vaccine options to choose from like getting the vaccine through a needle or a nasal spray, there is no preference for any one of these over the other. If you have questions about which vaccine is best for you, talk to your doctor or other health care professional.
Is it better to get sick with flu than to get a flu vaccine?
No. Flu can be a serious disease, particularly among young children, older adults and people with certain chronic health conditions, such as asthma, heart disease or diabetes. Any flu infection can carry a risk of serious complications, hospitalization or death, even among otherwise healthy children and adults. Therefore, being vaccinated is a safer choice than risking illness to obtain immune protection.
Do I really need a flu vaccine every year?
Yes. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone 6 months of age and older. A person’s immune protection from the flu vaccine declines over time and flu viruses are constantly changing, so the vaccine updated yearly as needed based on which influenza viruses are making people sick.
Can vaccinating someone twice provide added immunity?
In adults, studies have not shown a benefit from getting more than one dose of vaccine during the same influenza season.
Is it true that getting a flu vaccine can make you more susceptible to other respiratory viruses?
Experts do not believe flu vaccines make people more susceptible to other respiratory infections.
Does a flu vaccination increase your risk of getting COVID-19?
There is no evidence that getting a flu vaccination increases your risk of getting sick from a coronavirus, like the one that causes COVID-19.
Why do some people not feel well after getting a seasonal flu vaccine?
Some people report having mild side effects after flu vaccination. The most common side effects from flu shots are soreness, redness, tenderness or swelling where at the injection site. Low-grade fever, headache and muscle aches also may occur. If these reactions occur, they usually begin soon after vaccination and last 1-2 days.
Side effects from the nasal spray flu vaccine may include runny nose, wheezing, headache, vomiting, muscle aches, fever, sore throat and cough. If these problems occur, they usually begin soon after vaccination and are mild and short-lived. The most common reactions people have to flu vaccines are considerably less severe than the symptoms caused by actual flu illness.
What about serious reactions to flu vaccine?
Serious allergic reactions to flu vaccines are very rare. If they do occur, it is usually within a few minutes to a few hours after vaccination. While these reactions can be life-threatening, effective treatments are available.
The flu is a good example of how medical myths can get in the way of good medical care. When it's flu season, take the necessary steps to stay healthy. That includes separating fact from myth.
For more information, visit the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
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