Flu season is almost upon us, and with each passing year, it seems like more and more articles are claiming that getting the flu shot will, confusingly, give you the flu. But with 80,000 people dying of the flu last year, it’s essential for your health to know the facts about the flu vaccine. We’ve done the research on the flu shot to make sure you’re informed on the truth behind this essential shot. Read on to get your questions answered, and find out why the flu shot is always the best way to fight against nasty influenza and keep you fit and healthy this winter.
Does the flu shot give you the flu?
When vaccines were first used, the process involved infecting people with a milder form of the disease in the hopes that it would protect them against worse forms. This is probably where the idea of getting the flu from the flu shot came about, but you cannot get the flu from the modern flu virus. The parts of the virus that are used in the vaccine are dead, so they can’t infect you. However, the flu shot does take up to two weeks to take effect, so if you’ve caught something before you got the shot, you can still get the flu during that time while your body is still building up its immunity.
Why does the flu shot make people feel sick?
After receiving the flu shot, you can feel a bit sore at the injection spot, or you might develop a headache. This is actually a good thing! It means that your immune system is reacting to the vaccine. The symptoms also fade within a few days.
Can I get the flu shot if I’m already sick?
Because most flu shots aren’t available until October or November in most places, there’s a decent chance you might have caught a cold or two prior to getting vaccinated. If you have the sniffles or a stomach bug, it’s fine to still get the flu shot. The only time you should postpone your vaccination is if you have a fever. Wait until it breaks, then reschedule.
Do I need to get vaccinated every year?
In short, yes! Flu shots are created to fight what scientists predict will be the most common strains of the flu in a given year, and since those strains often change, it’s a good idea to get a flu shot every year. Even if the strains that the vaccine protects against remain the same from one year to the next, your ability to fight them decreases, so getting a shot every year means you’re continually protected.
Can I get the flu shot if I’m pregnant?
It is completely safe for pregnant women to get the flu shot. It not only decreases their chances of contracting respiratory illnesses, but it also protects their babies from the flu months after birth, because mothers pass flu-fighting antibodies onto their babies during pregnancy.