Flu Shot Facts and Myths:
FACT: Influenza is responsible for 104 pediatric deaths in the 2016 – 2017 flu season. Adult deaths from influenza are not reportable, but the range is 3,349 in the 1986-7 season to as high as 48,614 in the 2003-4 season per the CDC.
FACT: Pregnant women can get flu shots that contain inactivated virus. They do not need clearance from their obstetrician.
FACT: Flu shots reduce the risk of flu in adults and children.
FACT: There are no reported deaths from the flu shot.
MYTH: The flu shot gives me the flu.
The flu shot can it give you the flu! There virus in the flu shot is inactivated (dead) or there are particles that mimic the influenza virus. Some people do get a headache, muscle aches and feel tired for 24 – 48 hours after getting a flu shot. These symptoms are from your body mounting a response to the inactivated virus (ie, dead) or particles that act like a virus, so when you are exposed to the flu your body is fully ramped up to fight it! Two days of mild symptoms are a far cry from 1-2 weeks of severe symptoms, possible hospitalization or, in extreme cases, death. The flu shot doesn’t weaken your immune system, it prepares your body to fight the flu!
MYTH: The flu shot cannot give you the flu.
The CDC states emphatically: “No, the flu vaccine cannot cause flu.” The vaccines either contain inactivated virus, meaning the viruses are no longer infectious, or a particle designed to look like a flu virus to your immune system. While the nasal spray flu vaccine (not recommended this year) does contain a live virus, the viruses are changed so that they cannot give you the flu.
MYTH: Flu shots can cause Alzheimer’s disease.
Flu shots save lives in elderly people who are at high risk for complications from influenza.
MYTH: The flu shot can cause neurologic problems such as Guillain-Barre.
Actually, influenza causes more cases of Guillain-Barre than the vaccine.