Flu is coming: Learn facts vs. myths

By Nuvance Health Primary Care  |  10/16/2020

1. Myth: The flu is something only the frail and elderly need to worry about.

Fact: The CDC reports the 2019-2020 flu season was atypical in that it was severe for children under age 5 and adults aged 18 to 49. In fact, 36 percent of the people who died from flu that year were adults age 18 to 64. Most people who get the flu recover just fine, but the flu can be serious for anyone, not just for the elderly.

2. Myth: I got the flu from my shot.

Fact: You cannot get the flu from the vaccine. However, you may experience side effects, such as a low-grade fever, body aches and headaches, as your body fights the dead virus and makes antibodies. You may have been already sick with the flu before you were fully vaccinated. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body that protect against the flu. Another possibility is you received your vaccine, and then caught a cold with similar symptoms.

3. Myth: I got the vaccine and still got the flu. It doesn’t work!

Fact: Different strains circulate with every flu season. Because the annual flu shot is created in advance of the season, it can vary in terms of how effective it is in a given year. But even if it is not the perfect match, it has been proven to decrease how sick a person gets and how long the symptoms last.

4. Myth: If I get the flu shot each year, my body won’t learn to fight off the virus on its own.

Fact: Vaccination involves giving the body killed germs to allow it to “practice” making the right kinds of antibodies against the germ.  It’s the best kind of immunity you can have.

5. Myth: The flu season won’t be bad this year due to face masks, social distancing and hand-washing practices.

Fact: If we are vigilant about masks and other COVID-19 prevention measures, we may be able to reduce the prevalence of flu. However, a mask is not 100% effective and should be used in addition to, not in replacement of, other proven methods, such as getting your flu shot.

Nuvance Health gives the flu vaccine in primary care practices and in vaccination clinics. Please call your doctor’s office to schedule a time to get your flu vaccination. For more about the flu, visit https://www.nuvancehealth.org/flufacts/