10 flu myths and misconceptions

Know the facts about the flu

By Erica Hernandez - Digital Journalist

SAN ANTONIO - Every year, we may hear many misconceptions about the flu and the flu shot. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the flu vaccine prevents millions of illnesses and flu-related doctors visits each year. 

RELATED: What you need to know about upcoming flu season in South Texas

Here's a list of common myths and what you actually need to know. 

Myth: The flu vaccine can give you the flu
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, flu vaccines cannot cause flu illness. When you get the flu shot, the vaccine contains an inactivated virus that cannot give you influenza. 

Myth: It is better to get the flu than the flu vaccine. 
The flu can be a serious disease, and an infection can carry a risk of serious complications. 
According to the CDC, the flu can be particularly serious among young children, older adults and people with certain health conditions, such as asthma, heart disease or diabetes. 

RELATED: Flu season is here and now is the time to get flu shot

Myth: I don't really need a flu vaccine every year.
You do need a flu vaccine every year. In fact, the CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine for just about everyone 6 months and older. The reason is that your immune protection from the shot does decline over time.

Myth: The flu vaccine can cause severe side effects.
According to the World Health Organization, the flu vaccine is proven to be safe and severe side effects are extremely rare.

Myth: Getting vaccinated twice provides added immunity.
For adults, studies have not shown any benefits from getting more than one dose of the vaccine during the flu season. According to the CDC, some children may require two doses of the flu shot, those who are getting vaccinated for the first time and those who have only previously gotten one dose of the vaccine. If your child has had two doses at any time before, they only need one dose this season. 

Myth: I am pregnant so shouldn't get the flu vaccine.
Pregnant women should get the flu shot since their immune systems are weaker than usual. According to the World Health Organization, the flu shot is safe at any stage of pregnancy. 

Myth: I should wait to get vaccinated so that my immunity lasts through the end of the season.
The CDC actually recommends that people get vaccinated by the end of October. But it is never too late to get vaccinated even in January. 

Myth: Getting the flu vaccination is all you need to do to protect yourself from the flu.
There are also a number of other steps that can protect you like washing your hands frequently, cover a cough/sneeze with a tissue or your elbow, don't share dishes or utensils and avoid people who have the flu. 

Myth: You can catch the flu from going out in cold weather without a coat, with wet hair or by sitting near a drafty window.
According to Harvard Medical School, the only way to catch the flu is by being exposed to the virus. 

Myth: Healthy people don't need to get vaccinated.
Even if you are healthy you can benefit from getting the flu shot and it is recommended every year.

 

Have a question about the flu shot or the upcoming flu season. Ask below and we will answer them in a Live Q&A on Oct. 14 at 11 a.m.

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