When it comes to the flu there is no end to the old wives tales around trying to keep the flu at bay and stay healthy during the winter. Working in a hospital I have had many people ask my opinion about the flu shot or share “tales” with me. However I like to base my opinions on facts, not hearsay. Here are some common myths about the flu shot – BUSTED!
Myth #1 – The flu vaccine gives you the flu – FALSE – the flu shot is made one of 2 ways: 1) With “inactivated” virus which is not infectious or 2) With no flu virus particles at all. You cannot get the flu from getting the flu shot.
Myth #2 – You don’t need to get the flu vaccine every year – FALSE – A Shoppers Drug Mart Flu poll revealed that 53% of Canadians do not believe they need to get the flu shot every year. They obviously don’t realize just how tricky the flu virus really is. The flu virus rapidly mutates to try to avoid your immune system, this means that the antibodies you made from last year’s flu shot likely won’t recognize the viruses circulating this year. You need to get your flu shot every year.
Myth #3 – You need to make a doctor’s appointment to get your flu shot – FALSE – No one wants to take time off work to go to the doctors, and for the flu shot you don’t have to! In Ontario people over the age of 5 are able to get their flu shot from a qualified pharmacist. At Shoppers Drug Mart there is no appointment necessary, just stop in whenever is convenient for YOU to get your flu shot, no prescription necessary.
Myth #4 – It is too late to get the flu shot – FALSE – It is never too late to get vaccinated for the flu. Flu outbreaks can happen as late as May. While getting your vaccination early in the flu season offers you the most protection as it takes several days for your body to start producing antibodies, it is not too late to get your flu shot.
Myth #5 – Pregnant or breastfeeding women shouldn’t get the flu shot – FALSE – Healthy pregnant women are at greater risk of flu-related complications and hospitalization then women who are not pregnant. By getting the flu shot you are not only protecting yourself from the flu but also your baby as well. Antibodies against the flu are transferred across the placenta and through breast milk to help protect your new born baby. If you are pregnant you do not need a doctor’s note to get your flu shot.
Hope this helps clear up some of the confusion around the flu shot and helping to protect yourself and others from the flu!
You may be interested in learning more about Giving Medicine to a Baby.