The following information only pertains to the flu shot. | iStock.com/lendy16
10 Lies The Media Tell Us About the Flu Vaccine
Every year, people spend a considerable amount ofِ time pondering whetherِ theyِ shouldِ getِ a flu shot.
Maybe theِ reason theyِ spend soِ muchِ time weighing theِ decision hasِ to doِ with allِ the misinformation outِ there.
The tricky part isِ figuring outِ what’s fact andِ what’s justِ a bunch ofِ crap, whichِ isِ where weِ comeِ in.
First things first …
Notice we’re onlyِ talking aboutِ the shot.
That’s right, noِ nasal sprays.
In June 2016, theِ Centers forِ Disease Control andِ Prevention (CDC) released a report explaining data showed theِ nasal mist wasِ onlyِ 3% effective among children betweenِ the ages ofِ two andِ 17 forِ the 2015-2016 flu season.
There is more than one fish in the sea when it comes to flu vaccines. | iStock.com/the_guitar_mann
Truth: You have more than one option
While youِ mightِ not beِ able toِ choose betweenِ the nasal spray andِ a good oldِ fashioned syringe toِ theِ upper arm, youِ doِ still haveِ a decision betweenِ multiple versions ofِ the flu vaccine.
Medscape details eachِ of theِ sixِ differentِ options, whichِ include versions thatِ protect againstِ three strains andِ ones thatِ protect againstِ four.
There areِ alsoِ more specific options forِ those overِ the age ofِ 65 asِ well asِ people whoِ areِ allergic toِ eggs.
Lie: It can cause you to get the flu
Perhaps theِ top reason preventing people fromِ getting vaccinated isِ the idea itِ canِ actuallyِ cause theِ flu.
This myth hasِ beenِ aroundِ for decades andِ it’s justِ not true.
That beingِ said, it’s possibleِ you willِ experience someِ symptoms.
Truth: It offers good protection against the flu
No need to worry about being stuck in bed with a fever. | iStock.com
The exact efficacy varies fromِ year toِ year, butِ the flu vaccine can beِ quite helpful forِ prevention.
Some vaccines have clearlyِ beenِ duds, thoughِ manyِ years show protection rates aroundِ 50%.
That mayِ not sound terribly impressive, butِ cutting yourِ odds ofِ spending a week inِ bed feeling terrible isِ probably a good idea.
Lie: It can prevent colds
Because theِ vaccine isِ formulated toِ guard against theِ mostِ active influenza strains everyِ year, it only offers protection againstِ the seasonal flu.
Though colds areِ alsoِ caused byِ viral infections, keeping yourselfِ protected isِ a lot moreِ difficult.
Truth: You need a new one every year
You have a good chance of staying healthy through the winter. | iStock.com
Even ifِ you gotِ a flu vaccine lastِ year, youِ needِ to getِ anotherِ one inِ order toِ protect yourselfِ inِ the coming months.
The specific vaccine formula isِ only designed toِ protect against the mostِ active strains, whichِ vary fromِ year toِ year, soِ lastِ year’s dose probably isn’t goingِ to work.
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Lie: You should wait until flu season peaks to get it
Some folks thinkِ theyِ shouldِ hold outِ onِ gettingِ a shot untilِ well intoِ the flu season (which isِ fast approaching), reasoning itِ will ensure theyِ getِ full protection.
Susan Rehm, anِ infectious disease specialist, told WRAL News, “It takes atِ least twoِ weeks forِ antibodies toِ show upِ afterِ the vaccine’s beenِ given.” So, gettingِ a shot late inِ the season means you’re reallyِ putting yourselfِ atِ risk.
As a general rule, youِ shouldِ getِ your shot sometimeِ betweenِ Halloween andِ Thanksgiving.
Truth: There are some people who shouldn’t get the flu vaccine
You can still get the sniffles. | iStock.com
Though theِ general population isِ totally inِ the green, theِ CDC acknowledges thereِ areِ a handful ofِ people whoِ shouldn’t receive theِ flu shot: children younger thanِ 6 months oldِ andِ those withِ severe allergies toِ specific ingredients inِ the vaccine.
Those withِ egg allergies andِ anyone withِ a history ofِ Guillain-Barré syndrome, whichِ Mayo Clinic describes asِ a disorder thatِ causesِ your body’s immune system toِ attack yourِ nerves, shouldِ speak withِ theirِ doctor beforeِ getting a shot.
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Lie: The flu vaccine contains harmful ingredients
You’ll find blog afterِ blog talking aboutِ the toxic ingredients inِ flu vaccines, andِ they claim everythingِ from mercury to formaldehyde.
USA Today explains oneِ ofِ the ingredients inِ the vaccine isِ made fromِ a type ofِ mercury, butِ it isn’t theِ toxic kind mostِ of usِ thinkِ about.
It’s notِ evenِ remotely problematic, though, becauseِ our bodies naturally haveِ a small amount anyway.
Truth: Flu vaccines are crucial for those with heart disease
Getting theِ flu whenِ you’re perfectly healthy isِ a bummer.
Getting theِ flu whenِ you haveِ a heart condition isِ much moreِ serious.
According toِ Mayo Clinic, thoseِ with cardiovascular disease areِ more likelyِ to develop complications fromِ the flu, including pneumonia andِ heart attack.
Lie: The flu shot temporarily weakens your immune system
Whoever started theِ rumor aboutِ flu shots suppressing theِ immune system needsِ to brush upِ onِ their facts.
WebMD saysِ this idea isِ nothing moreِ than a myth, explaining theِ vaccine simply prepares yourِ body forِ the virus byِ teaching itِ what toِ recognize.
This doesn’t guarantee you’ll avoid gettingِ the flu, butِ the story saysِ there’s a good chance theِ vaccine canِ make theِ illness milder thanِ itِ otherwise wouldِ haveِ been.