With viruses such as Zika making headlines for infecting thousands, more people are interested in vaccination for things like the flu than ever before. Vaccinations help to prevent the deaths of more than 2.5 million people annually. Diseases like smallpox and polio are either completely eradicated or close to it in the last 60 years. To help protect yourself and your family, here are some common myths about the flu everyone should know.
You can catch the flu from the vaccine.
While the vaccine does contain the virus, it is inactivated and cannot transmit infection. Contrary to belief, those who get sick shortly after having a shot were going to get sick with or without it. Once administered, it takes up to two weeks for the vaccine to protect you from getting the flu.
Healthy people don’t need the flu vaccine.
Though it is recommended that people who are prone to illness should seek the flu vaccine, anyone can benefit from being vaccinated. Currently, children six months of age to 19 years, pregnant women, and anyone over the age of 49 are all recommended to be vaccinated. Healthy people have just as much a chance of spreading the flu virus to others. For this reason, family doctors and other staff at medical clinics are urged to get the flu vaccine themselves to protect customers.
All you need is a flu shot to keep from spreading it.
Other than vaccination, there are many ways in which you can protect yourself from the flu during its peak season. School physicians and family clinics suggest washing your hands frequently, avoiding contact with those you know have the virus, and taking anti-viral medication. Anti-viral medication should only be taken if you have been exposed to the flu prior to being vaccinated.
The flu is simply a bad cold.
Although it does have symptoms such as a sore throat, runny nose, cough, and sneezing, it can lead to more serious conditions and even death. For example, in the U.S., more than 200,000 people are hospitalized annually due to flu complications. Of those people, 36,000 people die as a result.
By the year 2015, almost 4 million deaths were avoided due to new and underutilized vaccines. These vaccinations were administered by professionals in medical centers all over the United States. The next time flu season comes around, think of the above myths and remember the truth behind them. You can save not only your life, but the lives of the ones you love as well.