5 Flu Myths and Facts: Why You Should Get the Flu Shot
After settling into cooler autumn days, the dreaded flu season begins. With a larger family, a flu spreading like wildfire through the household has lengthy consequences that can last weeks to months by the time the last of our large family has recovered and that’s a risk I just can’t take. This week Shoppers Drug Mart has started offering flu shots across Canada, no appointment necessary, making it easy for families to be protected.
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post through Shoppers Drug Mart. All opinions and experiences are 100% my own.
When I was working in health care it was a no-brainer to get the flu shot every year. Not only could I not afford to have the time off work should I become sick with the flu, I certainly didn’t want my littles ones getting ill to the point of hospitalization, especially my daughter who was born premature. Just the slightest hint of a virus would send her into the hospital for several days of heartbreaking suctions and nebulizer treatments. Now that she is a teen, her allergies and Asthma are more controlled but I continue to protect her, and the rest of my family, as soon as the flu shot becomes available.
The flu shot is an easy decision for me; all I have to do is visualize my daughter, unable to breathe, scared and gasping for air with her life at risk because of a flu she caught from someone else who didn’t get vaccinated and my decision is made. This is real for many and frightening as a mother who has experienced it; there is no terror like that of a parent watching a child suffer and feeling helpless.
These days I work from home but that doesn’t give me any less reason to get vaccinated. Should I become ill with the flu, the likelihood of my family contracting the virus and spreading it to friends at school or work are just as good as if I were working outside the home. As a parent of a child who has medical concerns, I take vaccination seriously. I may not be able to take the risk away completely but I can certainly do my part to help decrease the chance of serious health consequences for my own family and those we come into contact with at higher risk of complications.
It’s hard to wade through all the myths and misinformation out there, especially in the days of social media where everything (fact or fiction) is available at your fingertips. Opinion doesn’t make it true so let’s go over some myths you may have heard and arm you with the facts to protect your family.
Flu MYTHS and FACTS
- The flu vaccine gives you the flu.
- FALSE. Flu vaccinations delivered via a needle are either made with an ‘inactivated’ flu virus that’s not infectious, or with no flu virus at all. You can experience mild symptoms as a result of your body building antibodies towards the flu strain you were inoculated for but this is not the flu. It can take up to 2 weeks to develop a resistance to the strains you were given the flu shot for. If you become sick with the flu in that time frame, it’s easy to assume the flu shot gave you the flu but the reality is that it is a coincidence; you were likely exposed to the illness before you had the flu shot.
- If I think I’ve had the flu before the flu shot is available, I don’t need to get the flu shot.
- FALSE. The flu shot is different each year, protecting you against the strains suspected to be most rampant that flu season.
- The flu is basically the same as a common cold and isn’t that serious.
- FALSE. A cold develops gradually, usually over the course of a day or two and can last up to two weeks. The Flu can come out of nowhere and hit hard, with a fever lasting a few days and weakness and fatigue potentially for several weeks. Just think of all the lost days; by getting the flu shot you can help ensure every family member is protected, especially those most vulnerable around you, like children and the elderly.
- You don’t need to get the flu vaccine every year.
- FALSE. In order to best protect yourself from the flu you need to be vaccinated annually. Getting a vaccine doesn’t need to be a complicated, time-consuming process. Canadians can drop in to their local Shoppers Drug Mart or select grocery stores at any time of day, without an appointment.
- Almost everyone should get the flu shot.
- TRUE. Every Canadian over the age of six months should get an annual flu vaccination. Even young, healthy people can get the flu and become seriously ill. The flu vaccination is the best way to help prevent catching or spreading the flu. Even if you had a flu vaccination last year, you need to get a flu vaccination again this year. The flu vaccine is especially important for people who may be immunocompromised or those with chronic conditions, children 6 months to 2 years, pregnant woman, the elderly and those that work in health care or places where population is high.
- Children younger than 6 months and those who have had a previous allergic reaction to the flu shot should not receive the flu shot. Those with a severe egg allergy can still receive the flu shot with restrictions but should consult their doctor beforehand. Those with an acute illness, infection or a fever should postpone the flu shot until you are in better health.
It’s easy to become confused by all the flu myths out there but the facts are hard to argue with. For more information on flu shot facts, check out Shoppers Drug Mart website FAQ’s or join in the #ShoppersFlu conversation with me on Twitter @thislilpiglet and @ShopprsDrugMart.