Each year around this time, you start to see promotions for the flu shot all over town. A lot of people stay away from it because there are so many untruths out there about what can happen if you get the shot. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recently released information debunking many common myths that may make you feel better about protecting yourself this winter.
Big Myths About the Flu Shot Debunked
The number one misconception out there is that the flu shot gives you the flu. The CDC responds, “No, a flu shot cannot cause flu illness. Flu vaccines given with a needle are currently made in two ways: the vaccine is made either with a) flu vaccine viruses that have been ‘inactivated’ and are therefore not infectious, or b) with no flu vaccine viruses at all (which is the case for recombinant influenza vaccine). The most common side effects from the influenza shot are soreness, redness, tenderness or swelling where the shot was given. Low-grade fever, headache and muscle aches also may occur.”
For those who think it’s better to risk getting the flu instead of trying their chances with the shot, the CDC disagrees. “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.”
The report explains that there are a lot of benefits to pregnant women who opt to get the shot. “Vaccination helps protect women during and after pregnancy. Getting vaccinated can also protect a baby after birth from flu,” since mom’s antibodies pass onto the developing baby during her pregnancy.
During a study, it was found that babies of women who got a flu vaccine during their pregnancy were about one-third less likely to get sick with flu than babies of unvaccinated women. This protective benefit was observed for up to four months after birth.