Flu season is upon us and its important to understand the symptoms and risks associated with this highly contagious, seasonal virus. There are many misconceptions about the flu and it can be difficult to decipher what’s real and what’s not. False information can get in the way of necessary medical attention so we’re debunking a few common myths to ensure you’re getting the information you need this flu season.
Myth: A flu shot will give you the flu
Fact: You can’t get the flu from the flu shot.
The flu vaccine includes an inactivated or dead virus, therefore it is not infectious and you can’t contract the flu. If you develop flu-like symptoms after getting the shot, it could be your immune system reacting as expected to the vaccine causing mild symptoms, or you might have contracted something in the two-week window before the protection takes effect.
Myth: You’re better off getting the flu than the flu shot
Fact: Getting the flu shot is much safer than getting the flu.
Everyone benefits from getting a flu shot, especially now with the COVID-19 pandemic. CDC guidelines recommend yearly flu vaccines for anyone older than six months of age, including pregnant women, and it’s especially important for high-risk populations and those with chronic illnesses. Getting your flu shot as a preventative measure carries much lower risks than not getting the shot at all.
Myth: Healthy people don’t need to get a flu shot
Fact: It’s especially important for high-risk populations or those with chronic illnesses.
However, the flu remains one of the leading causes of death in the U.S. and catching the flu carries medical risk for everyone, no matter your level of health. The flu can cause serious infection among high-risk patients, such as infants, elderly adults and those with underlying medical conditions. The flu can also result in serious complications and additional concerns, including pnemonia. Getting the flu shot, regardless of your health, helps prevent the virus from spreading, protecting vulnerable populations.
Myth: You can’t catch COVID-19 and the flu at the same time
Fact: Up to 20% of people who have COVID-19 also have the flu and other respiratory viruses.
While it is difficult to tell the difference between COVID-19 and flu by symptoms alone, it is possible to carry both viruses at the same time. Both respiratory viruses share some similar symptoms such as fever, chills, cough, congestion, shortness of breath, fatigue, headache, muscle and body aches, nausea and sore throat. However, the flu shot decreases your likelihood of getting these viruses together.
Schedule your flu shot today at your local Dignity Health Medical Group clinic. Our clinics are open and implementing thorough safety routines and regulations to ensure the safety of every patient, staff member, physician, and advanced practice provider. If you have any further questions or concerns this flu season, please message us through the website where you can also get more information on Dignity Health's commitment to safety during the COVID-19 pandemic.