Getting a flu shot every year is the best way to protect yourself, your community and those you love from the flu. However, many people avoid getting the vaccine because they’ve heard incorrect information about it. Here’s a look at myths and facts about the flu shot.
Myth: I could get the flu from the flu shot.
Fact: The flu shot does not give you the flu. After you get your flu vaccine, you may experience some redness or swelling at the site of the injection or some aches and a mild fever. However, this is not the flu. The flu shot only contains a few proteins from a dead flu virus that prime your immune system so it knows what to attack if it comes in contact with the flu virus.
Myth: If I don’t get a flu shot, I’m only putting myself at risk.
Fact: Skipping your flu shot not only puts you at risk but also your family, friends and community who you may spread it to. When more people get vaccinated against the flu, less flu virus can spread through a community. You’re also helping protect those around you who are unable to get a flu shot such as babies under 6 months old.
Myth: It doesn’t matter if I get the flu because it doesn’t make you seriously ill.
Fact: The flu can be life threatening, especially for young children and those over the age of 65. Having a condition like asthma, COPD, chronic bronchitis, heart disease or diabetes increases your risk of complications from the flu. The flu can even increase your risk of having a heart attack or stroke.
Myth: I have to go to a doctor to get a flu vaccine.
Fact: While your doctor can administer a flu vaccine, you can also stop into your local Walgreens or some other pharmacies for a flu shot.
Myth: I have to pay for a flu shot.
Fact: Flu shots are one of the fully covered preventive care benefits provided by the Affordable Care Act, so there’s no cost to anyone with health insurance—even if you haven’t met your deductible.