Every year at about this time, comments or questions arise about the value of flu shots. Let’s take a moment to debunk some of myths that surround flu shots and shed light on the facts.
Myth 1: If I miss getting a flu shot in September or October, it is too late to get one?
Fact: While it is recommended by the CDC to get vaccinated during these months for the best protection, you can still get a flu shot later in the flu season. Vaccinations are available until spring, and getting vaccinated later can still provide significant benefits.
Myth 2: The flu shot prevents COVID-19.
Fact: The flu shot is important for protecting against the flu, but it does not prevent COVID-19. Different viruses cause these illnesses, and they require different vaccinations.
Myth 3: Flu shots can give me the flu.
Fact: This is a common misunderstanding. Flu shots cannot give you the flu because they use inactivated or weakened flu viruses. These viruses cannot cause illness. However, some people may have mild side effects like soreness or a slight fever as their bodies build immunity.
Myth 4: Getting a flu shot increases my chances of getting COVID-19.
Fact: This is completely false. The flu shot does not weaken your immune system or increase the risk of COVID-19 infection.
Myth 5: If I got a flu shot last year, I don’t need one this year.
Fact: Immunity to the flu decreases over time, which is why annual vaccination is recommended. Even if you had a flu shot last year, it is still necessary to vaccinate again this year to fight the specific flu strains circulating in the current season.
Besides getting your flu shot, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends several other steps to help you avoid getting the flu: (1)
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If you can’t wash your hands, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
- Wear a face mask when you go out, especially in crowded places indoors or when it’s hard to stay away from others.
- Avoid touching your face because that can transfer the flu virus from surfaces to your nose, eyes or mouth.
- Stay at least six feet away from others, especially if they cough, sneeze or have flu-like symptoms.
As we get closer to the 2023 flu season, let’s clear up these misconceptions and make informed choices about our health. Remember, the flu shot is an important way to protect against the flu, and it can make a big difference in minimizing the impact of the flu in our communities.
To get your flu shot safely and easily, make an appointment at your WellMed clinic or visit one of our drive-through flu shot clinics. Let’s make our health a priority and join forces to fight the flu.