Don’t Be Afraid of the Flu Shot: Debunking 6 Common Misconceptions
When it comes to flu prevention, there’s one truth to remember: flu shots are a proven method of stopping the spread of influenza. Despite flu vaccine effectiveness and affordability, fewer than half of Americans have been vaccinated as of September 2017. Many people choose to not get a flu shot due to fear or misinformation. This makes it especially important for everyone to get educated about flu shot effectiveness and safety. To protect the health of the Florida community, MD Now Urgent Care is currently offering influenza vaccines at all of its locations. Shots are available every day, including holidays. No appointments are necessary.
So, why do so many Americans avoid getting this potentially lifesaving vaccine despite proven flu vaccine effectiveness? In this article, we’ll explore some of the most common misconceptions about flu prevention, helping you put your fears to rest.
1. I don’t know what is in a flu shot.
Are the ingredients dangerous? Understanding the components inside a flu shot can help you overcome any anxieties you feel toward the vaccine. So, what is in a flu shot? The flu shot is created using an inactive virus that cannot cause infection. The flu shot simply introduces your body to the killed virus, allowing your immune system to become resistant to a live virus. After about two weeks, the flu shot effectiveness reaches peak levels, protecting you throughout the season.
People with allergies, especially those who are allergic to eggs, may also be concerned about what is in a flu shot. Fortunately, people with egg allergies can be vaccinated in a medical setting, where an experienced provider can monitor their symptoms.
2. The flu shot causes the flu.
Simply put, a flu vaccine cannot cause the flu illness. As previously mentioned, vaccines administered through a shot are created with inactive viruses that are not infectious. While nasal vaccines are formulated with live viruses, the viruses used are weakened and cannot cause illness.
After you receive your flu shot, you may experience minor symptoms like soreness and redness around the site of the shot, or a low-grade fever. However, many people do not experience any symptoms after receiving a flu shot.
3. Flu shots are painful.
Many people avoid getting a flu shot because they’re afraid of needles and anticipate feeling pain. While these fears are understandable, the one or two seconds of sting that a flu shot might cause pales in comparison to the discomfort of the actual flu. Plus, modern flu vaccines contain smaller, shorter needles that can be injected into the skin instead of muscle. This eliminates a lot of the unpleasant sting that frightens many patients.
4. Shots don’t really provide flu prevention.
Flu shot effectiveness is another area of concern for those on the fence about whether to get a vaccine. Many patients believe that the shot isn’t effective enough to warrant getting one, but the opposite is true. Flu vaccine effectiveness this year is up to 50 percent, and even if you do get sick, your symptoms likely will be milder. The vaccine offers at least partial protection, lowering the chances of developing flu complications. Plus, when you receive a flu shot, you’re helping to protect the more vulnerable people around you, including children and the elderly.
5. I don’t need a flu shot.
While you might think that not everyone needs a flu shot, the reality is that the majority of people should receive one. The CDC recommends that adults and children over the age of 6 months receive a flu shot each year; however, there are exceptions. The following people should not receive a flu shot:
- Children under 6 months old
- Individuals who have had severe allergic reactions to flu vaccines in the past
- Those who developed Guillain-Barre syndrome within six weeks of inoculation in the past
If you are already sick, simply wait to receive your vaccine after the symptoms have passed. Having already been sick does not decrease flu shot effectiveness; vaccination can still provide flu prevention for the rest of the season.
6. It’s better to get the flu than the flu vaccine.
While you can become immune to the flu after catching a live virus, natural immunity is no substitute for a vaccine. Getting the flu can cause serious complications, especially if you have asthma, heart disease, or diabetes. Even otherwise healthy people can experience flu complications, making vaccination the safer choice.
Facing your fears and clearing up misconceptions about the flu shot can help you stay illness-free this flu season. If you have additional questions about flu vaccine effectiveness, contact your local MD Now Urgent Care center for more information.
To learn more about our urgent care centers, visit www.MDNow.com.
MD Now® Urgent Care Walk-In Medical Centers is the leading provider of fast and affordable urgent care to adults and children in Palm Beach, Broward, and Miami-Dade counties. Our state-of-the-art, walk-in medical centers are open seven days a week to deliver an affordable and convenient alternative to long emergency room wait times and the limited hours of family physicians. No appointment is necessary and major insurance plans are accepted. In addition to providing a comprehensive range of urgent care services to treat a variety of illnesses and injuries, our multiple locations offer digital x-rays, EKG, lab testing, physicals, immunizations, vaccines, occupational medicine, travel medicine and selected primary care services. Find the medical care you need with the convenience you want at MD Now. Online: www.MDNow.com.