Getting a flu shot is often one of the most controversial subjects year after year. There are plenty of people who swear by it while others believe that they are better off without the jab. Luckily, we’ve got some of the most common flu shot myths debunked right here. Here’s what you need to know.
Each time many health professionals urge parents and their children (and the general population, of course) to take action before they get sick. Despite warnings that influenza can cause serious illness or death, particularly in the very young or very old, fewer than 50 percent of people get the shot each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
So, what’s the reason behind this rather low statistic? While no one knows for sure, there are plenty of rumors that surround the pros and cons of having a flu shot. A lot of people believe that getting the jab will actually make you sicker. But here’s the thing: the vaccine contains inactive strains of the flu virus, so it cannot cause the flu. Although, the shot can cause low grade muscle soreness and cold symptoms, which can be mistaken for early signs of the flu.
Some believe that the flu shot doesn’t work, but that’s not true either. Researchers have proven that the effectiveness of the flu vaccine falls anywhere between 30 to 80 percent. Also, there’s the belief that you don’t need a flu vaccine every year. Since influenza viruses are constantly changing and because the body’s immune response from vaccination declines over time, it is important to get vaccinated every year. Flu vaccination is recommended for everyone age six months and older.
There’s also the belief that the flu shot is not safe for pregnant women. That's wrong again. The CDC says that pregnant mothers, at any stage throughout their pregnancy, are able to receive a flu shot without endangering their life, or their unborn child's life.
And remember, even healthy people can get sick enough to be hospitalized or even die from the flu. In fact, each year, an average of 20,000 children age five years or younger are hospitalized due to flu-related complications.