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Flu Myths Debunked

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  • Written By: St. John's Medical Center
Flu Myths Debunked

It's flu season, which means there's plenty of misinformation circulating online. It's important to arm yourself with the facts to keep you and your loved ones healthy this winter. We’re here to set the record straight.

Myth: You Can Get the Flu From the Vaccine.

The flu vaccine cannot cause you to get the flu. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the flu shot is produced in two ways: the vaccine is either made with a flu virus that has been inactivated (killed), or by using a single gene from the flu virus rather than the whole virus. Both cause an immune response in the body without causing infection or getting you sick.

Myth: Healthy People Don’t Need a Flu Shot.

The CDC currently recommends that everyone, even healthy people, over the age of 6 months get the flu vaccine annually. New strains of influenza circulate each year, so if even if you received a flu shot in the year past, you will not be protected this year. Additionally, the flu shot you receive is dependant on your age and health status.

It is also important to note that seemingly-healthy people can also carry the virus and spread the flu—20% to 30% of people carrying the influenza virus have no symptoms. While you may not get sick with the flu, getting the vaccine each year can help to protect others.

Myth: You Can Catch the Flu From Going Outside With Wet Hair.

The only way you can get the flu is from the influenza virus. While many people link the respiratory infection with the cold weather, they are not connected. Cold weather makes it easier for the flu to spread — but the cold weather is not what makes you sick.

Myth: You Don’t Need the Flu Vaccine Every Year.

The CDC recommends that you get the flu vaccine each year, even when the virus that the vaccine protects us against has remained the same. This is because your body’s immune protection from a virus can decline over time—getting the vaccine each year boosts your protection against the virus.

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