One of the main reasons why people don’t get their yearly flu vaccine, is because of all the myths flying around about what the vaccine is, and its after-effects. Admit it, we’ve all heard many wives tales about the flu shot!
The decision on whether or not to get the flu vaccine should involve making an educated decision, when myths are out of the way and the choice is made from only facts. To help you debunk the rumours and prevent cold and flu, here are the most common misconceptions about the flu vaccine*.
5 Flu Vaccine Myths
- The flu vaccine gives you the flu.
FALSE. Flu vaccinations delivered via a needle are either made with an ‘inactivated’ flu virus that’s not infectious, or with no flu virus at all. The most common reaction to the flu shot in adults has been soreness, redness or swelling at the spot where the shot was given. This usually lasts less than two days. This initial soreness is most likely the result of the body’s early immune response reacting to a foreign substance entering the body. Other reactions following the flu shot are usually mild and can include a low grade fever and aches. If these reactions occur, they usually begin soon after the shot and last 1-2 days. The most common reactions people have to flu vaccine are considerably less severe than the symptoms caused by actual flu illness.
- You don’t need to get the flu vaccine every year.
FALSE. The 2015 Shoppers Drug Mart Flu Poll revealed that 53% of Canadians do not believe they need to get the flu shot each year. But pharmacists warn Canadian’s – “Don’t Miss Out!”. In order to best protect yourself from the flu you need to be vaccinated annually and Canadians can drop into their local Shoppers Drug Mart any time of day no appointment necessary to get vaccinated this season.
- You should wait until the height of flu season to get vaccinated so you’re protected for longer.
FALSE. While it’s never too late to get vaccinated, it’s best to receive your flu shot soon after it’s available, likely October. The antibodies delivered via the flu vaccine that protect you against infection take up to two weeks to take effect, and since the flu peaks between December – February it’s important to get vaccinated as soon as possible.
- Pregnant women need to get consent from their doctor prior to receiving the flu vaccine.
FALSE. There is no recommendation for pregnant women to seek consent from their doctor prior to vaccination. However, there are some people who should seek their doctors’ advice prior to being vaccinated, including those who have a moderate – to – severe illness and patients with a history of Guillain-Barre Syndrome.
- Is it better to get the flu than the flu vaccine?
FALSE. 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, getting vaccinated is a safer choice than risking illness to obtain immune protection.
One startling truth is that 70 to 90% of flu cases can be averted through vaccination. Considering approximately 12,000 Canadians will be hospitalized this year because their flu will be so severe, and approximately 3,500 Canadians will die from the flu – getting the flu vaccine should be strongly considered!
Getting your annual flu shot is easy – Shoppers Drug Mart pharmacies offer flu immunizations administered by an injection-certified pharmacist, without an appointment!
What do you think? Should you get the flu shot?
Disclosure: I am compensated for my part in the #SDMFluFighters program, all opinions are my own.