Doctors often hear the complaint of getting a cold and cough every year during the fall and winter seasons. In India, the monsoons from June to September are the annual flu season, with peaks in influenza cases during these months and secondary peaks during November to January.
Fortunately, getting a flu shot can prevent the flu. The vaccine triggers the immune system to develop antibodies against the virus, protecting individuals from infection. It takes around 2 weeks for the antibodies to develop and can be given to anyone above 6 months of age.
Flu season is upon us, which means it’s time for the annual flu shot! But there are many myths and misconceptions surrounding the flu shot that can cause confusion and even deter some people from getting vaccinated.
In this blog, we’ll separate fact from fiction and debunk some of the most common myths surrounding the flu shot.
Myth #1: The flu shot can give you the flu.
Fact: This is perhaps the most common myth about the flu shot. However, it’s simply not true. The flu shot contains an inactivated virus, which means it cannot cause the flu. Some people may experience mild side effects after getting the flu shot, such as a low-grade fever or soreness at the injection site, but these are not symptoms of the flu.
Myth #2: The flu shot isn’t effective.
Fact: While it’s true that the flu shot is not 100% effective, it is still the best way to protect yourself against the flu. The effectiveness of the flu shot can vary from year to year, depending on how well the vaccine matches the strains of the flu virus that are circulating. However, even when the flu shot is not a perfect match, it can still reduce the severity of symptoms and prevent hospitalization.
Myth #3: You only need to get the flu shot once in your lifetime.
Fact: This is a common misconception, but it’s important to note that the flu virus is constantly evolving. This means that the strains of the virus that are circulating one year may be different from the strains that were circulating in previous years. For this reason, it’s recommended that everyone get a flu shot each year to ensure they have the most up-to-date protection.
Myth #4: The flu shot is only important for the elderly and immunocompromised.
Fact: While it’s true that these groups are at higher risk for complications from the flu, everyone can benefit from getting a flu shot. Even healthy adults can get the flu and experience severe symptoms. Getting vaccinated not only protects you, but it also helps prevent the spread of the virus to those who are more vulnerable.
Myth #5: Natural immunity is better than vaccine-induced immunity.
Fact: While it’s true that natural immunity can provide protection against the flu, the flu shot is still the safest and most effective way to protect yourself against the virus. Natural immunity can be unpredictable, and there is always a risk of serious complications or even death from the flu. The flu shot, on the other hand, is a safe and proven way to reduce your risk of getting sick.
Benefits of flu vaccine:
The flu vaccine offers several benefits, including protection against 4 types of influenza viruses, avoiding hospitalization due to repetitive flu episodes, providing protection for vulnerable populations such as infants, elderly, and individuals with chronic illnesses.
It is especially vital for pregnant women and their newborn babies during the first few months and years of life.
The vaccine can be taken just before or during the initial days of the flu season or all through the flu season, depending on doctor recommendations.
Infants and children should take two flu shots during the season, while pregnant women are recommended to take the vaccine during the second and third trimesters.
The influenza vaccine is an important preventive measure that reduces the burden of seasonal flu on the community and healthcare system.
In conclusion, there are many myths and misconceptions surrounding the flu shot. However, the fact remains that getting vaccinated is the best way to protect yourself against the flu. Don’t let myths and misinformation keep you from getting the protection you need this flu season. Consult a General Physician about getting vaccinated or visit Ayu Health Hospitals and stay healthy throughout the year!
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About the Author
Dr. S. Goel
Dr. S. Goel is a renowned Internal Medicine Specialist currently practicing at Ayu Health Hospital, Bangalore. He is a Specialist in Internal Medicine, Diabetes HTN, Paediatric Care, and Family Medicine.