MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) -Seasonal flu kills 50,000 people a year in the U.S., and it is a vaccine-preventable disease. Still, many people choose not to get a flu shot because they are afraid of getting sick. There are three common myths about the vaccine.
Myth #1: People think the flu is just a bad cold.
Dr. Helen Morrow with the Shelby County Health Department says that's false.
“People lump many respiratory infections in with the flu," says Morrow. "The flu, when it hits you, comes on very suddenly. A cold will come on more slowly.”
Myth #2: There is a misconception you can get the flu from the shot itself.
The flu vaccine contains a killed form of the virus. Doctors say you are still vulnerable to the disease two weeks after getting vaccinated because your body needs that long to build a resistance to the disease.
Myth #3: New combined shots are riskier than the old ones.
All vaccine-makers every year have to adjust the vaccine depending on what new strains of the virus are out there for you to catch.
“They look at what's circulating in the southern hemisphere to see what strains the northern hemisphere may have for our flu season,” says Dr. Morrow.
Also, everyone needs to get the shot, not just people prone to getting sick. Doctors say the shot not only protects you, but protects the people around you. A person who gets the flu is likely to infect 4 other people. Children under 6 months of age cannot get the flu vaccine and are most susceptible to the disease.
In the past, flu shots contained preservatives in multi-dose vials that were feared to be dangerous. Single dose vaccines do not contain any preservatives at all. The flu vaccine now comes in a nasal spray.