Busting some flu shot myths
MACON, Ga. -- As flu season begins, there are a few myths that need busting during prime vaccination time.
Sherrie Rollins-Scrapchansky, employee health manager at Coliseum Health, said that there are several common misconceptions when it comes to flu season and flu shots.
First, she said that some people believe that you can catch the flu from getting the vaccine. This is false. She said that it takes about two weeks after getting the shot for your immunity to the virus to build up, so while it is possible that you can catch the flu within that two week period, you do not catch the flu because of the vaccine.
She also said that the flu vaccine contained an inactivated virus, so it doesn't get you sick. It just helps your immune system learn how to fight off the sickness if it were to come in contact with it after your immunity builds up.
Second, Rollins-Scrapchansky said that some people believe that healthy people don't need to get vaccinated. Again, she said this is not true. She said that the virus does not discriminate for age or health status. Therefore, old, young, healthy and sick people alike can all be infected. Because of that, she said it is important for all people to get vaccinated.
Another misconception is that being outside in cold weather can cause you to get the flu. Rollins-Scrapchansky said that that is not how the flu is transmitted. She said you contract it by coming into contact with the virus, such as inhaling a cough from an infected person or touching a surface infected by the virus.
However, she said that being outside in cold weather can make symptoms of the flu, like coughing or runny nose, worse.
Finally, Rollins-Scrapchansky said that some people believe that pregnant women should not get the flu shot because it can harm the baby. She said that in fact, pregnant women should get vaccinated as well because you don't want to risk having the flu when you give birth and infected the newborn.
She said that the best time to get the flu shot is before the end of October because after that, the season really starts picking up and you can be at higher risk of coming into contact with the virus.