Flu Shot Myths for Northern Michigan Caregivers
As northern Michigan’s aging experts, every autumn we receive questions from caregivers about the flu shot. Many families believe some of the popular influenza vaccine myths and are concerned about whether or not a senior loved one should receive it. To help caregivers get the facts, we are addressing the most popular myths about the flu shot.
Myth #1: Getting the flu shot will make me get the flu.
FACT: We hear this more often than any other flu shot myth. It is one of the primary reasons people do not receive the vaccine. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) “A flu shot cannot cause flu illness. The viruses contained in flu shots are inactivated (killed), which means they cannot cause infection.”
Myth #2: If I receive the flu vaccine too early I won’t be protected for the whole flu season.
FACT: The flu shot is typically effective for one full year from the time you receive the vaccine. Because there are often early outbreaks of the flu, most experts agree that you are better off getting the vaccine sooner rather than later.
Myth #3: If you aren’t feeling sick you can’t spread the flu.
FACT: This is another popular myth. According to the experts at Harvard Medical School 20 – 30% of those who carry the influenza virus are symptom-free.
Myth #4: You don’t have to receive the vaccine every year.
FACT: The flu shot is an annual vaccine. It isn’t like getting a vaccine for mumps, chicken pox or measles. The formula for the vaccine changes each year to protect you from the strains of the virus that are predicted to be a problem that season.
Myth #5: If you have had the flu this season you won’t need to get flu shot.
FACT: The flu vaccine protects you from several strains of the influenza virus. If you’ve had the flu, you are probably only protected from on strain and will still need to have the vaccine.
The CDC has a quick video Misconceptions About the Flu & the Flu Vaccine that caregivers in northern Michigan might find helpful in keeping the flu at bay this season.
Does a senior loved one you care for believe any of these myths?