It’s the same old song and dance every year. Despite a preponderance of evidence that the annual flu shot saves both misery and lives, there are always those people who say they’re not getting one because of something that happened to their aunt’s best friend’s daughter. Or because of something they saw on Facebook. Or because they heard all shots are bad for you. The next time you come across a flu-shot doubter, here’s how to respond to their claims.
Myth 1: I don’t need the flu shot because I’m healthy.
Fact: Centers for Disease Control recommends that everyone over six months old get the flu shot, including pregnant women… which brings us to our next point.
Myth 2: The flu shot might harm my unborn baby.
Fact: The exact opposite is true. The flu shot can help protect your baby from getting the flu after it’s born because you’ll pass antibodies onto your developing baby. This protection lasts for several months after birth. What’s more, the flu can cause miscarriage and the flu shot reduces the chances of that happening.
Myth 3: I’ll take my chances; it’s only myself I’m hurting if I get the flu.
Fact: That’s actually not quite true. You may be at peak health and able to survive the flu without much trouble, but you’ll also risk passing the flu on to those around you who may be more vulnerable, like infants, people with chronic health issues or the elderly. Furthermore, you can transmit the flu even when you don’t have any symptoms.
Myth 4: You can get the flu from the flu shot.
Fact: This is 100 percent false. The flu vaccine is made from inactivated viruses, according to health officials at the Centers for Disease Control.
Myth 5: You don’t need to get the flu shot every year.
Fact: Yes, you do, because the strains of the flu that circulate change every year and, even if they didn’t, immunity fades over time.
Myth 6: The flu shot doesn’t work because I got it once and still got the flu.
Fact: Vaccine effectiveness varies from year to year. Even if it doesn’t prevent you from getting the flu, the shot can greatly reduce the severity of the flu if you get it.
Myth 7: The flu shot is dangerous and frequently causes neurological damage.
Fact: There have been very rare instances of the flu causing Guillain-Barré syndrome, a rare disorder in which a person’s own immune system damages their nerve cells (most people fully recover within weeks). The flu shot triggers Guillain-Barré about one or two times per every million doses of the flu vaccine given, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Myth 8: The mercury (thiomersal) in the flu shot causes autism.
Fact: Many studies have proven this to be false. However, the FDA asked vaccine makers to remove the mercury from vaccines as an added precautionary measure and to encourage vaccination amongst those who still doubt that vaccination is safe. Today, the flu vaccine is provided to clinics in two forms—individual and multi-dose vials. Only the multi-dose vials contain thiomersal, which is used to prevent contamination.
We’re quickly closing in on cold and flu season. The flu can kill you; and the flu shot has been proven time and time again to be a safe strategy to prevent or reduce the severity of the illness. Contact us today to schedule your flu vaccination—and increase your chances of staying strong and healthy through the winter.