For those of you unlucky enough to have suffered from the flu in the past, you know how terrible it can be. While it may only span a few days for some, complications like bacterial infections can cause serious symptoms to linger for weeks. Chances are you’ve gotten a lot of advice from friends or family about how to avoid and treat the flu. But how much of that is accurate or safe?
Avoiding Misinformation About the Flu Vaccine
Every flu season there’s an increase in viral web articles making unfounded allegations about the health risks of the flu vaccine. This rampant misinformation makes some people less motivated to get their flu shot. As with all things, you should avoid taking advice from sources that aren’t credible. To get sound advice about flu vaccinations, call your family doctor. Here are 3 common misconceptions about the flu vaccine:
1) The Flu Isn’t That Serious
Flu season poses the biggest risk for those who are most vulnerable. Babies, the elderly, and those with weakened immune systems are more likely to suffer serious complications from the flu than any other demographic. However, without intervention even healthy individuals can suffer deadly complications from the flu. It can be difficult to tell if you’re suffering from the flu or if you’ve developed a more serious secondary infection, such as pneumonia. This uncertainty can lead some to wait longer before seeing a doctor, which can prove deadly.
2) You’ll Get Sick Anyway
The flu vaccine protects against multiple strains of the flu, which are chosen based on predictions for what will spread in the US that year. While you may still get certain strains of the flu while vaccinated, your chances of developing serious complications are smaller. The vaccine also decreases the severity and duration of the flu.
3) The Flu Vaccine Makes You Sick
The flu vaccine takes several weeks to kick in, so if you get sick within days of getting the flu vaccine, it’s purely coincidental. The flu vaccine is inactive, which is another way of saying that it’s dead. If you experience soreness, a low-grade fever or body aches, that’s simply your body’s natural immune response to a foreign substance.
Herd immunity (also known as community immunity) slows the spread of viruses and disease in a community. Viruses can travel quickly through a specific region and make many people sick. But when enough people are vaccinated, the germs can’t travel as easily from person to person. This means that the entire community is less likely to get the disease, even those who couldn’t be vaccinated. When enough people are vaccinated, the disease can be virtually eradicated, as was the care with polio.
Keeping Yourself Healthy
New flu vaccines are developed every year to keep up with the adapting flu viruses. Because the viruses evolve so quickly, your body may not be protected from this year’s viruses with last year’s vaccine. Following vaccination, your immune system produces antibodies to protect you from those flu viruses. Over time the antibodies decline, so annual vaccinations are necessary.
To protect yourself and your loved ones from the flu, Contact Us.