Flu shot myths addressed - KYTX CBS 19 Tyler Longview News Weather Sports

Flu shot myths addressed

Posted: Updated:

(CNN) -- Flu vaccine myths can confuse people trying to decide whether to get a shot. Here are five common myths and, based on information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the truth.

1. The shot can give you flu

Not so, says the CDC.

The viruses in flu shots are killed during the production of the vaccine, which means they cannot cause infection. The vaccine batches are then tested, with a group of people randomly assigned to get either the vaccine or salt water.

"The only differences in symptoms was increased soreness in the arm and redness at the injection site among people who got the flu shot," the CDC found. "There were no differences in terms of body aches, fever, cough, runny nose or sore throat."

Still, some people feel bad after a flu shot. Soreness at the injection site is one reason, but it usually dissipates within two days. It's caused by the immune system making antibodies to the killed viruses in the vaccine that help a person fight off the flu.

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices says symptoms, in rare instances, include fever, muscle pain, and discomfort or weakness, which also typically go away after a day or two.

And, though a flu shot won't give you the flu, its protection doesn't kick in for two weeks from the time of injection. During that time, you are vulnerable.

In addition, it's easy to confuse seasonal flu for an illness caused by a number of other pathogens, including rhinovirus. Or you may be exposed to a flu virus that is not included in the vaccine. Finally, the flu shot does not always work -- particularly among the elderly and people with weak immune systems. But even among these high-risk groups, the vaccine can prevent complications.

2. It is better to get the vaccine later in the season to limit the risk that its efficacy will wane

No. The shot lasts an entire flu season, except for some children who may need two doses. The CDC recommends that all people older than 6 months get a flu vaccine.

3. The flu shot might adversely affect my pregnancy

No. The flu vaccine is "an essential element of prenatal care" and is recommended for all pregnant women, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Pregnant women are among the groups at increased risk for flu complications like pneumonia, infections and dehydration.

Though babies cannot be vaccinated until they have reached 6 months of age, antibodies they received in utero from their mothers may help protect them. But note that the group recommends against the nasal spray -- the live, attenuated version -- for pregnant women.

The CDC says seasonal flu vaccine shots have not been shown to cause harm to pregnant women or their babies.

4. I've had the flu before and it was no big deal, so bring it on

No. Seasonal flu exacts a bigger toll in some years than in others: Between 1976 and 2007, the flu was linked to a low of 3,000 to as many as 49,000 fatalities in the United States, with more than 200,000 hospitalizations.

There are two main reasons: The viruses that circulate in one year may differ from those that circulate in another. And, of course, people change from year to year, meaning that your response to a viral infection one year may not be the same as your response in another.

5. The flu shot doesn't work

It doesn't work all the time, but it does confer some level of protection. For example, the CDC says preliminary data for the 2010-2011 season show that it was about 60% effective for all age groups combined, and studies for earlier years found protection rates of up to 90%.

  • Local NewsMore>>

  • Jacksonville Communications Officer Killed in One Vehicle Crash

    Jacksonville Communications Officer Killed in One Vehicle Crash

    Monday, April 14 2014 11:31 PM EDT2014-04-15 03:31:53 GMT
    SMITH COUNTY (KYTX) -- DPS says a woman is dead after a crash Monday afternoon.  It happened just before 2:00 p.m. at the intersection of Mixon Road and Yarborough Lane in Smith County.  At this pointMore >>
    A Jacksonville Police communications officer has died after a crash Monday afternoon.
    More >>
  • Family remembers Fort Hood shooting victim with Illinois ties

    Family remembers Fort Hood shooting victim with Illinois ties

    Thursday, April 3 2014 10:35 PM EDT2014-04-04 02:35:25 GMT
    EFFINGHAM (WCIA)  -- One of the victims in a deadly shooting in Fort Hood went to school in central Illinois. Family members say 37-year-old Army Sergeant Tim Owens went to Southside Elementary in Effingham.  Owens'More >>
    One of the victims in a deadly shooting in Fort Hood went to school in central Illinois. Family members say 37-year-old Army Sergeant Tim Owens went to Southside Elementary in Effingham.More >>
  • Hallsville Student Finds Used Needle on School's Playground

    Hallsville Student Finds Used Needle on School's Playground

    Saturday, April 19 2014 7:43 PM EDT2014-04-19 23:43:25 GMT
    HALLSVILLE (KYTX) - A situation to make any parent worry. Pamela Kelly says her 4 year old son came home from school recently with a hole in his hand. Tyler Kelly goes to Pre-K here, at the Little Cats Learning Center in Hallsville. Kelly says since coming forward with this news,she has received thanks from other parents."They have been extremely thankful. So they can be more proactivand morere on the look out." - Pamela Kelly, Tyler'Mom Thehe school made this statement to CBS 19 via email. T...More >>
    HALLSVILLE (KYTX) - A situation to make any parent worry. Pamela Kelly says her 4 year old son came home from school recently with a hole in his hand. Tyler Kelly goes to Pre-K here, at the Little Cats Learning Center in Hallsville. Kelly says since coming forward with this news,she has received thanks from other parents."They have been extremely thankful. So they can be more proactivand morere on the look out." - Pamela Kelly, Tyler'Mom Thehe school made this statement to CBS 19 via email. T...More >>
Powered by WorldNow

CBS19, MYTX & KCEB
2211 ESE Loop 323
Tyler, TX 75701
Phone (903) 581-2211
Fax (903) 581-5769

Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2004 - 2014, WorldNow and KYTX, Owned and Operated by London Broadcasting Company.
All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.