As the flu season started, there are people around the world that either wants to get the flu vaccine or are avoiding it like the plague.
In the last years, there was an alternative to getting a flu shot: the nasal flu vaccine. But it is no longer available. Getting the flu shot is important, as it helps the body by introducing an inactive influenza virus that makes the immune system create antibodies to fight against the virus.
Among the people that line up for the vaccine, there are others that are skeptical of its effects.
It’s time we settled what is fact and what is a myth when it comes to the flu shots.Dr. Denise Pate, Internal Medicine Doctor from Manhattan, Medical Offices has helped us with pinning down myths and facts about the flu.
Myth: The Vaccine Gives People the Flu
Dr. Pate said that the virus is inactive in the vaccine, so it cannot transmit an infection.
The nasal vaccine holds the live virus and it has proven not to be effective. Also, people like children, the elderly and pregnant women should not be exposed to the live virus.
Fact: Shortly After the Vaccine People Will Experience Symptoms Similar to the Flu
The day people get the shot and a day after, there might be some fever, body aches and soreness at the place of injection, but that is not the actual flu. It is the body responding to the inactive virus, making people feel a bit under the weather.
Myth: Severe Health Consequences
Except for the brief symptoms, there are no other consequences. The side effects from the flu shot are a lot less risky than the actual flu. Dr. Pate admitted that there are a lot of people who die from the flu.
Fact: The Flu Shot is Never 100% Sure to Prevent Getting the Flu
Dr. Pate said that there is no absolute guarantee that a person will not get the flu, even if they had the vaccine. But getting the flu shot will reduce the severity of the virus to mild symptoms. The flu vaccine needs 2 weeks to take its full effect.
Myth: Pregnant Women Shouldn’t Get the Flu Vaccine
Dr. Pate recommends pregnant women to get the flu shot for their health and for their unborn child. This way, the mother produces antibodies that are passed to the baby and when the baby is born, it should be protected against the virus for a couple of months after birth.
Fact: Older People and Babies Over 6 Months Get a Different Type of the Flu Shot
People that are over 65 years old or babies over 6 months of age should take the flu shot – and for them, there is a specific vaccine, called the ‘high-dose flu shot’ – a concentrated version that should last longer in the system.
Myth: The Flu Shot Causes Reactions to People that Suffer From Egg Allergies
This is a speculation based on the fact that the flu shots are incubated in eggs and it can contain an amount of egg protein that causes severe allergic reactions to people that are allergic to eggs. But Dr. Pate says that the shot contains a very small amount of such a protein and the only thing that could happen to allergic people would be a skin reaction (hives, for example).
Fact: It is Recommended for People Allergic to Eggs to be Monitored After They Get the Shot
Dr. Pate recommends allergic people to egg protein to be monitored for about half an hour after getting the flu shot. The CDC doesn’t require such a thing, as they found after studies that people with such allergies have no allergic reaction to the vaccines.
Myth: The Flu Shot Causes Children to Have Autism
This is the most controversial myth that has been going around. However, Dr. Pate doesn’t see a link between the flu shot and autism.
The myth started once skeptics found out that a preservative used in some vaccine contain mercury and it might have caused autism in children. Dr. Pate said that people have seen an increase in autism lately because of the growing awareness, whereas in the past people with autism were considered ‘slow’.