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Dr. Amie Meditz Discusses Flu Myths

November 14, 2019


Hi, I’m Dr. Amie Meditz. Today I’m going
to be discussing one of the most important prevention tools for influenza:
the vaccine. Everyone six months or older should be vaccinated. There are several
myths about the influenza vaccination that prevent people from getting
vaccinated. The first myth is that you can get the flu from the flu vaccine.
This is untrue. Both the flu shot and nasal mist generate protection using a
virus that is killed or weakened so that it cannot cause infection. Myth number
two: the vaccine side-effects are worse than getting the flu. Patients are often
concerned about the side-effects from the influenza vaccination. There are
minor side-effects associated with the vaccination but these reactions are
minimal compared to the severity of getting influenza. Common reactions
include soreness, swelling or redness at injection site, which lasts up to two
days. Less commonly, some may get low-grade fever and body aches that also
last a couple days. Myth number three is that the flu vaccine is not effective.
Patients have told me that they have gotten the flu despite getting
vaccinated. There are several reasons for this observation. First, other common
viruses such as those that cause the common cold can cause illnesses that
feel similar to influenza. Secondly, after you receive a vaccination it takes two
weeks to develop immunity, also called antibodies, to influenza. If you are
exposed right before or right after getting the vaccination you would not be
protected. Lastly, influenza vaccination does not
protect against all virus strains; only three or four specific strains depending
on the vaccine. You could be exposed to a strain that does not match up with the
vaccine that season. However, this should not discourage you from getting
vaccinated. Studies have shown that people who are vaccinated get less
complications than those who are not vaccinated. Myth number four is that the
flu vaccine contains harmful preservatives. The preservative is called
thimerosal and is present in very small quantities in multi-dose vials of the
influenza vaccine. Studies have shown that this preservative is safe. If you
have further questions about the influenza vaccination, you should talk to
your health care provider. Also, you can look at online resources such as the cdc.gov or flu.gov. We hope this video has given you a basic understanding of
influenza. If you have further questions, you’re welcome to make an appointment
with one of our providers at the Beacon Center for Infectious Diseases.

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