The CDC helps us bust 6 common flu myths!

1. The flu vaccine can give you the flu.

No, flu vaccines cannot cause flu illness. Flu vaccines are made with ‘inactivated’ (killed) viruses and are therefore are not infectious

2. It’s better to get the flu than the flu vaccine.

Not even close. Influenza can be a very serious disease, particularly among young children, older adults, and people with certain chronic health conditions, such as asthma, heart disease or diabetes. Any flu infection can carry a risk of serious complications, hospitalization or death, even among otherwise healthy children and adults

3. I got the vaccine last year so I’ll be fine.

Not true. The CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine for just about everyone 6 months and older, even when the viruses the vaccine protects against have not changed from the previous season. The reason for this is that a person’s immune protection from vaccination declines over time, so an annual vaccination is needed to get the best protection against the flu. On top of that, there are some strains of the flu virus that vary from year to year and you want to be sure you have the right vaccines to fight it.

4. I get the worst side effects from the flu vaccine.

The most common side effects from flu shots are soreness, redness, tenderness or swelling where the shot was given. Low-grade fever, headache and muscle aches also may occur. If these reactions occur, they usually begin soon after the shot and last 1-2 days. In blind  studies, where some people get inactivated flu shots and others get salt-water shots, the only differences in symptoms was increased soreness in the arm and redness at the injection site among people who got the flu shot. There were no differences in terms of body aches, fever, cough, runny nose or sore throat. The most common reactions people have to flu vaccines are considerably less severe than the symptoms caused by actual flu illness.

5. Getting vaccinated twice will provide added immunity.

In adults, studies have not shown a benefit from getting more than one dose of vaccine during the same influenza season, even among elderly persons with weakened immune systems. Except for some children, only one dose of flu vaccine is recommended each season.

6. Getting a flu vaccine can make you more susceptible to other respiratory viruses.

“There was one studyexternal icon (published in 2012) that suggested that influenza vaccination might make people more susceptible to other respiratory infections. After that study was published, many experts looked into this issue further and conducted additional studies to see if the findings could be replicated. No other studies have found this effect. For example, this article in Clinical Infectious Diseases (published in 2013). It’s not clear why this finding was detected in the one study, but the preponderance of evidence suggests that this is not a common or regular occurrence and that influenza vaccination does not, in fact, make people more susceptible to other respiratory infections.”