We’re just a few weeks away from the biggest travel and socializing holiday season of the year. And you know what that means – we’ll come in close contact with lots of people, many of whom have bad colds or even worse – the flu. It’s not too late to protect yourself from this severe, highly infectious respiratory condition by getting a flu shot, and you can get one at the affordable clinics that make up the UrgentMED network.
The last flu season, which ran through to the end of March 2018, was brutal and one of the longest in recent years. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), each year on average, between 5 to 20 percent of the U.S. population gets the flu. Of those, tens of thousands are hospitalized, and thousands die from flu-related illness. No age group is immune.
There are a number of flu shot myths out there. Here are three misconceptions that will help to put your mind at ease.
Flu Shot Misconception #1: The Flu Shot Gives You the Flu
This has to be the biggest misconception in the group. Can a flu shot give you the flu? No – the flu shot does NOT give you the flu. The main reason being the flu vaccines are made from an inactivated vaccine.
Are there side effects from a flu vaccine? Yes, there can be. Some people report soreness, redness, tenderness or swelling at the site of your shot, headache, a low-grade fever, muscle aches, and nausea. But these side effects pale in comparison to the severe symptoms caused by the actual flu. If you’ve ever had the flu, you can relate.
If you do experience flu-like symptoms after you get a vaccine – this could mean that you may have already been exposed to influenza viruses (which cause the flu) before you were vaccinated. Something else to keep in mind – it takes about two weeks after your vaccination, for the body to develop immune protection, and you may have been exposed during that period.
Flu Shot Misconception #2: The Flu Shot Doesn’t Work
Yet another big misconception or flu shot myth is that the flu shot does not work. It’s true that vaccine effectiveness varies. It depends on the flu season and personal considerations: your age and overall health. But recent studies show that getting a flu vaccine reduces your chances of getting the flu by between 40 percent and 60 percent. According to the CDC, getting a flu vaccination is the single best way to protect yourself against the flu, each year. To use a cliché: better safe than sorry.
Flu Shot Misconception #3: I Don’t Need to Get a Flu Shot Every Year
The CDC recommends everyone 6 months of age and older get an annual flu shot. Yes, annual. Every year. Each flu season is different, and last year’s vaccines may not protect you against the next year’s strains. Plus, antibody levels decline over time, making it even more important for you to get a flu shot every year.
It’s Not Too Late to Get a Flu Shot
The CDC recommends we get vaccinated by the end of October of each year before flu season begins. And while we’re obviously past that point, it’s not too late to get a flu vaccine. Even if you get the vaccine later – into January and beyond – it’s still beneficial. But the earlier, the better.
Hopefully, our guide cleared up any myths you may have had about flu shots. Be sure and visit an UrgentMED to get a flu shot and other vaccinations, where you can also pick up prescription and non-prescription medications and medical supplies.
The affordable clinics that make up the UrgentMED network provide fast and affordable emergency care, and with 15 locations, we’re conveniently located near you. UrgentMED is the largest comprehensive urgent care network in Southern California. We look forward to helping you stay on a healthy track.