Busting myths about the flu

Don’t let bad information guide you into harm’s way this flu season. Know the difference between what is true about the influenza vaccine and what is false. Then go get vaccinated.

Myth: The vaccine can give you the flu.

Fact: OSF HealthCare offers vaccines that aren’t live and cannot infect you.

Myth: You don’t need to get vaccinated every year.

Fact: Immunity to the influenza virus declines over time, so you should get the flu shot every year for maximum protection. Plus, the vaccine is updated every year to protect against the flu strains expected to be most common.

Myth: Getting vaccinated guarantees you can’t get the flu.

Fact: It takes up to two weeks after getting vaccinated to build up immunity to the flu. You can still get sick during this period. Plus, even after getting vaccinated, you could still catch the flu from a strain of the virus not included in the vaccine. Take steps to prevent the spread of germs during the flu season.

Myth: The flu is not dangerous.

Fact: The flu causes the deaths of thousands of people every year. The very young, the very old, or people with health issues are especially at risk of dangerous complications from the flu.

Myth: People with an egg allergy cannot get vaccinated.

Fact: People with egg allergies can receive the influenza vaccine. OSF HealthCare offers vaccines for people with severe egg allergies. However, if you have severe egg allergies, you should be vaccinated where you can be supervised by a health care provider.

Myth: People with a latex allergy cannot get vaccinated.

Fact: OSF HealthCare offers vaccines that don’t contain any latex.

Myth: The flu shot contains mercury.

Fact: Flu vaccines used to contain a preservative called thimerosal, which contained ethylmercury. In small doses, ethylmercury is not harmful to humans.

OSF HealthCare offers vaccines that are free of any thimerosal.

About Author: Ken Harris

Ken Harris is a writing coordinator for the Marketing & Communications division of OSF HealthCare.

He has a bachelor's in journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and worked as a daily newspaper reporter for four years before leaving the field and eventually finding his way to OSF HealthCare.

In his free time, Ken likes reading, fly fishing, hanging out with his dog and generally pestering his lovely, patient wife.

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Categories: Preventive Health