Once believed to be brought on by the influence of the stars, influenza, the dreaded cold-weather virus, battles new rumors about the flu and its vaccine each season. NJ flu season myths are common, maybe you’ve heard of some before? “The flu vaccine will give me the flu” or “I eat healthy and exercise, I don’t need the flu shot.”
We’re here to dispel the myths and help you separate flu facts from fiction.
8 Common NJ Flu Season Myths Dispelled
1. I’m young, eat healthy and exercise, I don’t need the flu shot.
FICTION. The flu does not discriminate — anyone can get the sick from the flu. True, young, healthy individuals are less likely to experience life-threatening complications from the flu, but they can still catch the virus.
In addition, getting vaccinated not only helps you avoid getting the flu, but it also helps to protect other, more vulnerable populations like infants, elderly and those with weakened immune systems.
2. Children need a special kind of flu shot.
FACT. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend different flu shots for children, depending on how old they are and whether or not they have been previously vaccinated. Some children may require a two-dose vaccine instead of the standard single-dose.
The inactivated nasal vaccine (LAIV), per CDC guidelines, is no longer recommended because it hasn’t been shown to be as effective as the standard flu shot.
Talk to your child’s eMedical physician to find out which flu shot option is right for your child.
3. I don’t need a flu shot if I got one last year.
FICTION. According to the CDC, it is recommended that everyone over the age of 6 months should receive the flu shot annually. There are hundreds of different strains of the flu virus, these strains change constantly. Each year, the vaccine is created based on the top three common types circulating at that time. So, if you or your child hasn’t been vaccinated against one of this current season’s strains, you’re considered vulnerable.
4. I need antibiotics to recover from the flu.
FICTION. Since influenza is a virus, not bacteria, antibiotics will not help you recover. In fact, taking an antibiotic when you have a virus could do you more harm than good. Antiviral drugs, (prescription medication) can help fight against the flu in your body. They’re most effective when taken within 48 hours of symptoms appearing, so if you start showing flu symptoms, stop by eMedical urgent care walk-in clinic to see if antivirals are right for you.
5. The flu vaccine is the best way to protect myself against the flu.
FACT. The flu shot is the best defense to ward off influenza. But it’s still important to protect yourself from contracting or spreading the flu with other flu prevention methods including: avoid spending time around sick people; wash your hands frequently with soap and water; avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth; disinfect surfaces and objects regularly; and stay home from work or school if you are experiencing flu symptoms.
6. The flu shot can give me the flu.
FICTION. One of the most common misconceptions is that the flu shot will give you the flu. This fear started back in 1979 when live-virus vaccines were used…and people did get sick. Today, however, the version of the influenza virus in the vaccine is inactive (it is no longer infectious) which means the flu shot cannot cause you to get sick with the flu.
One percent of recipients may feel transient side effects, such as sore throat or runny nose, after receiving the flu vaccine, but that usually dispels after a day.
7. The flu vaccine is dangerous for pregnant women.
FICTION. According to the CDC, flu vaccinations are safe for pregnant women and recommends a flu shot to protect both mother and baby from more dangerous complications that come along with getting infected with the flu.
8. It’s too late, I might as well not get vaccinated.
FICTION. While it is important to protect yourself against the flu before outbreaks begin, it’s never too late to protect yourself by vaccinating as late as January, February and even March.
Flu season peaks doesn’t usually peak until February and early March, so you still have time to get your flu shot.
Fight Off the NJ Flu Season with a Flu Vaccine
At eMedical Urgent Care, we see patients on a walk-in basis; no appointment necessary. After school or on weekends, we‘re here. Our convenient hours are designed to fit your busy schedule, even around the holidays. Learn more about our services and how we can treat you by calling our location in Berkeley Heights, New Jersey (908) 464-6700, or Middletown, New Jersey(732) 957-0707.