Written by: Featured Health & Wellness

5 Myths About the Flu Debunked

Fall has arrived, and so has the annual flu season — a time when a runny nose may turn into a nasty bout of the influenza virus with fever, cough and aches.

If you’re unsure a flu vaccine is right for you, you’re not alone. There can be a lot of confusion out there surrounding vaccines. To help, Dr. Mayrene Hernandez, UnitedHealthcare senior chief medical officer in Florida, fact-checks five common flu vaccine myths.

Myth #1: You can get the flu from the flu vaccine.

Facts: The vaccines can’t cause flu illness. They are made with either inactive viruses or only a single protein from the flu virus. In fact, doctors strongly recommend getting the flu vaccine because it’s the single best way to help protect yourself from the flu. The flu vaccine is safe, doesn’t cause serious side effects and may even help reduce the seriousness of your symptoms if you do get the flu.

Myth #2: The flu vaccine isn’t safe for older adults.

Facts: The flu vaccine is safe, simple and a smart choice for all ages, starting at six months. Older adults, who are at higher risk for serious flu complications that could result in a hospital stay, are especially encouraged to get the vaccine.

Myth #3: The flu vaccine causes strong side effects.

Facts: The side effects of the flu vaccine are generally mild, according to the CDC. Some people may have soreness, redness or swelling where the shot was given, a low-grade fever or minor aches; but these issues are typically short-lived. The CDC stresses, because of how the vaccines are produced, you cannot get influenza from the flu shot or the nasal spray vaccine.

Myth #4: I got a flu vaccine last year, so I’m fine for this year.

Facts: The flu virus changes each year, so flu vaccines change as well. Plus, the body’s immune response to a flu vaccine declines over time, which means a yearly vaccination is the best option for protection, according to the CDC.

Myth #5: I got the COVID-19 vaccine, so I can’t get the flu vaccine.

Facts: The viruses are different, and so are the vaccines used to prevent them. There are no interactions between the vaccines, and both are recommended by the CDC to help maintain optimal health. Additionally, if you want to save a trip, you can get the flu vaccine and the COVID-19 vaccine at the same time.

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Tags: , , Last modified: November 8, 2021