Myths and misconceptions about the flu and the flu vaccine are as rampant as the virus itself. So, here are a few facts to keep in mind from Dr. Pedro Piedra, a professor of molecular virology:
- A lot of people believe kids, teens and 20-something’s don’t need to get vaccinated for the flu because they’re young and healthy. But that’s absolutely not true. Even young and healthy kids can end up hospitalized from the flu – or even die. Plus, anybody still in school is more likely to catch the flu in the first place – more than any other group. If they’re not immunized, they can then infect your whole family. And if you have grandparents living with you, or anybody with health problems, like asthma, their health will be severely compromised.
- Just because flu season is underway, it doesn’t mean it’s too late to get vaccinated. The virus tends to start making the rounds in early October – but it doesn’t let up until MAY! So go ahead and get a shot anytime in that window. Just know it’ll take about two weeks before the protective antibodies kick in.
- If you’re a needle-phobe – you can still get vaccinated. This year, the nasal spray vaccine, Flu Mist, will protect against the four leading strains of the flu. That’s MORE protection than the shot gives. The shot only protects against three strains. The spray contains a weakened version of the flu virus but it won’t make you sick.