Better Late Than Never

Health & Wellness

Did you get your flu shot this year?

There are many reasons that a person may have chosen not to get the flu shot, but we spoke with Erin Bolton, Jefferson Regional Medical Center (JRMC) Infection Control Nurse, who believes there are no excuses for not getting the important vaccination. Below, she lists six common misconceptions about the flu shot.

  1. “It’s dangerous.”

Erin said the flu shot is one of the safest medical procedures in the world. According to the CDC, “Flu vaccines have a good safety record. Hundreds of millions of Americans have safely received flu vaccines over the past 50 years, and there has been extensive research supporting the safety of flu vaccines.”

  1. “The flu shot can give you the flu.”

For those who believe the flu shot can give (or has given them) the flu, Erin said that’s a huge misconception. “If you received a flu shot and got the flu a few days later, it’s because you had already been exposed to the flu when you got your shot – not because the shot gave you the flu,” Erin said.

  1. “It doesn’t matter if I get the shot or not – if I get sick, I’ll just deal with it.”

Erin said this is a dangerous line of thinking. Remember, you might not mind risking getting the flu, but for others, it could be deadly.

“The elderly, babies and sick folks are all more susceptible to the flu than a young or middle-aged healthy person,” Erin said. “Getting the flu shot is a way to respect them and their loved ones. Everyone has someone in their life who is on the at-risk list.”

  1. “The flu shot only protects me from one strain of the flu, so I still have just as much of a chance to get the flu with the vaccine.”

“Most of the flu shots protect against more than one strain,” Erin said. “In fact, they usually protect against two or three strains. The one here at Jefferson protects against four different strains of flu. Could you still get the flu? Yes, but if you had the shot, it will make your symptoms much less. It will also lessen the amount of time you’re sick.”

  1. “If I get the flu, I’ll know it and make sure to stay away from anyone I could get sick.”

Unfortunately, Erin said this is not always the case. “You can be exposed to the flu and expose babies, grandparents, everyone for about three to five days before you even begin to show symptoms,” she said.

  1. “I can’t afford to get the flu shot.”

“The health department gives flu clinics all the time,” Erin said. “They ask you to bring your insurance card, but if you don’t have insurance, they’ll give it to you for free.” Click here for more information on flu clinics.

The flu season lasts from around November to March. While the CDC recommended flu shots by the end of October, it isn’t too late to get yours. The flu season has just begun, and you will protect yourself and others who need it most by getting your flu shot.


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