Share on Facebook

Should I Get a Flu Shot? 3 Myths Debunked

Vaccines are the most effective way to prevent infection. But myths about their safety and efficacy still abound, according to the cohosts of the hit television show "The Doctors." Here, why you shouldn’t skip your flu vaccine.

1 / 3
iStock/Thinkstock

Does the flu shot make you sick?

One third of the people the folks at “The Doctors” polled believed it can. But it’s a myth. The shot introduces inactivated viruses into your system. Your body’s antibodies mount a response, so if you encounter the flu, your immune system will be better equipped to fight it. This can trigger mild aches, a low fever, and soreness around the injection site for a couple of days. Don’t mistake these for the flu.
 

2 / 3
iStock/Thinkstock

Should I delay the vaccine if I’m under the weather?

It’s
fine if you have mild respiratory symptoms, like a cough or a runny
nose. But if you have a more severe illness, get a flu shot at a later
date, as the CDC suggests; the vaccine could be slightly less effective.
Plus if you already have flu-like symptoms, you won’t know if they’re
due to the vaccine or an actual illness.
 

3 / 3
iStock/Thinkstock

I got the vaccine last year and still got the flu. What’s up?

The flu strains targeted by a
flu vaccine are based on which ones the CDC predicts will be most
prevalent in a given year, which is determined months in advance of each
flu season. Sometimes the strains that circulate are a good match
to those in the vaccine, and sometimes they aren’t. During the years
that the match isn’t as close, people are more likely to get sick
despite getting vaccinated. But research shows that the vaccine is
still about 50 percent effective. And if you are vaccinated and still
manage to get sick, you may have a less severe case and recover more
quickly.

Originally Published in Reader's Digest