If you’re somewhat reluctant to go get a flu shot, you aren’t alone. However, you may be seriously putting yourself and others at risk.
Many fears people seem to have about the flu shot are derived from misconceptions. Therefore, it’s important that you know the truth. We bet you’ll feel a lot more comfortable getting the protection you need once you know what it really entails.
None of the following statements are true. Please, allow us to explain why they’re wrong.
1. Getting the shot can give you the flu.
You can’t catch the flu from getting immunized against it. All injectable flu vaccines are made with either recombinant DNA antigens or inactivated viruses. Neither of these things can make you sick.
You could potentially experience soreness at the injection site for a day or so, a mild headache, or low-grade fever. These are common side effects and not signs of illness. However, it is important to remember that the flu shot takes several weeks to fully build up your immunity.
You can technically still get the flu if you’re exposed to it before the vaccine takes effect.
2. Flu shots contain mercury.
This is another misconception due to the history of vaccinations. In the past, yes, mercury was used as a preservative. However, modern flu shots do not contain thimerosal or any other mercury-based preservatives.
3. The flu shot can cause Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS).
Unfortunately, GBS can develop regardless of whether you’ve taken a flu shot or not. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control concurred that it’s highly unlikely the flu vaccine has anything to do with it.
“If there is an increased risk of GBS following flu vaccination it is small,” they explain, “on the order of one to two additional GBS cases per million doses of flu vaccine administered.”
4. Getting vaccinated is not that important.
The flu vaccine isn’t perfect, and it doesn’t guarantee you’ll be perfectly immune. However, it does work for the majority of people and can significantly reduce your risk of getting sick. Furthermore, if you do get the virus, the severity of your symptoms and risk of complications will likely be reduced.
The virus itself isn’t what kills people. However, it very much increases the risks of developing conditions that can be fatal – especially for infants and seniors. This is why it’s important to protect yourself – and others you might expose should you contract the virus.