5 Myths about flu and the flu vaccine

Winter is on its way and with it, come the dreaded bouts of flu. But is it inevitable or can flu be avoided? Let’s explore myths about flu…

There are many misconceptions surrounding influenza (commonly referred to as “flu”) and the vaccine. Here are a few that have been discredited:

Myth: Flu is not that serious

Fact: Flu is actually a severe and possibly life-threatening disease which kills more than 500 000 people worldwide every year.

Myth: It is natural and almost expected to get the flu every year as it does its rounds
Fact: Incorrect – flu can be avoided and one way to try protecting yourself from it is to get a flu vaccine.

Myth: The flu shot causes flu
Fact: Impossible. The viruses contained in flu shots have been killed, which means they really can’t cause infection. Getting a flu shot stimulates the immune system which may cause mild flu-like symptoms.

Myth: The flu vaccine is only for the elderly and high-risk patients
Fact: Flu affects people of ALL ages and anyone who would rather not contract flu should be vaccinated

Myth: I was vaccinated last year so I am good to go
Fact: Every flu season there are different flu viruses circulating as viruses regularly change due to different factors including mutation. Therefore a new vaccine is manufactured each year in response to that year’s prevalent flu strains. To be up-to-date you need to be vaccinated every year.

Source: Independent Community Pharmacy Association