Flu Vaccine Myths: Finding the Truth

Most people have heard a lot of information about the flu vaccine, though not everything is true. As the flu is a contagious virus that affects millions of Americans every year, it is important to bust some of the myths that crop up. For seniors who have reached Medicare eligibility, flu shots are covered at no cost to the beneficiary.

Flu Vaccine Myths: Finding Facts

The vaccine gives you the flu

Some who are reluctant to get the flu vaccine are under the impression that the shot or nasal spray will give them the flu. The vaccine does not give you the flu, as shots that have the virus are inactivated and not infectious. The nasal spray contains a weakened virus that cannot spread the illness.

Those who do get the vaccine may experience symptoms such as redness, tenderness and soreness on the injection site with the shot vaccine. In some cases, those who are vaccinated may experience a low-grade fever, headache or muscle aches.

It’s better to get the flu than the vaccine

There is a belief that getting the flu is better than being vaccinated, but many don’t realize the illness can become very serious for some people. A common cold is not the same as the flu. A flu infection always has the possibility for complications, such as ear infections, bacterial pneumonia and dehydration – meaning it is safer to get a vaccine than risk becoming sick. Those with the most risk for complications include seniors, young children and those with chronic conditions like asthma.

You don’t need to get a vaccine every year

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends getting the flu vaccine once per year, as the virus can change from season to season. Typically, a flu vaccine will protect you from the three most common strains. A person’s immunization to the flu after receiving a vaccine declines over time and needs to be redone every year.

Double-vaccination can give you better protection

There is no study that proves that getting vaccinated twice is beneficial to adults. A single dose of a vaccination will help protect a person from the flu for a season and reduce the risk of developing and spreading the infection.

It’s too late in the flu season to get the vaccine

Flu season typically has its largest peak in January, though it is possible to become infected as early as October. After receiving a flu vaccine, antibodies take about two weeks to develop and protect a person from the illness, meaning it is best to vaccinated early in the season. However, since it is possible to become sick later, getting vaccinated later can still reduce the risk of catching the disease.

Healthy people don’t need the vaccine

Regardless of health or age, the flu can affect anyone, and it is highly contagious. Additionally, it may take up to a day before symptoms appear, meaning it is possible to spread the infection to others before a person realizes they are sick. The best way to reduce the risk of infection is a seasonal flu vaccine.

To maximize your Senior Health Insurance benefits, visit MySeniorHealthPlan.com for quick, simple and easy information.

Pete Blasi