Do you hesitate to ask for the flu vaccine? Here are seven myths about the flu issue to distinguish right from wrong.
1- The flu vaccine does not protect 100%, so why bother?
“When people ask me:” Why get vaccinated against the flu? “I reply that the vaccine is not just for others. It is also a protection for your loved ones who themselves, severely affected if they caught the flu,” said Dr. Jonathan Kerr, a family physician in Belleville, Ontario. Older people, young children, pregnant women and people with chronic diseases (asthma, diabetes, heart disease), or compromised immunity (recent organ transplant, AIDS, cancer) are more at risk of complications, such as pneumonia, bronchitis, and death.
When you get a flu shot, not only you increase your chances of avoiding the disease and its complications, but also those of your loved ones. Although the vaccine is not 100% effective, says Dr. Kerr, it is not a sufficient reason not vaccinated. “The vaccine against influenza is not perfect, and it will not prevent influenza in all cases. This year it is 40% effective. That’s better than 0%. Therefore, it is better to get vaccinated. It is wrong to believe that the flu is a mild illness. This is a severe disease, “says Dr. Kerr. [* Update: A Report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that the vaccine against the flu this year would be only 23% effective.]
2- The vaccine can give you the flu
If you become ill after receiving the vaccine against influenza, vaccination not involved. “After vaccination, your body is organizing a mini immune response to create the antibodies that you need [against the flu],” says Dr. Kerr. “Some people feel a bit sick after the vaccination because their body behaves as if he had to fight against infection, but they do not have the flu. “By cons, if you cough or have a stuffy nose, the culprit, usually a cold virus. “Some people have a cold at the time of vaccination and believe that the vaccine, in question, but this is not the case.
3- Winter flu and viral Gastroenteritis are one, and they have the same effect
Many people confuse these two diseases, but they are distinct. The influenza strains that circulate each winter only affect the respiratory system (lungs, nose, and throat), causing nasal congestion, sore throat, headache, cough, high fever, body aches, and extreme fatigue. This seasonal influenza does not cause diarrhea or abdominal cramps, two characteristic symptoms of viral Gastroenteritis, sometimes called “stomach flu. “Gastroenteritis is not touching the airway; on the contrary, it is the intestines and causes watery diarrhea, vomiting, stomach cramps, mild fever, and headaches.
4- I have a cold, so I can not receive a vaccine against influenza
You can receive a flu shot, even when you have a cold. “If you have a cold, your body has already organized an immune response. Instead, it is a good time to vaccinate against influenza, because of your body already in production of antibodies, “says Dr. Kerr. Such production accelerates protection against the influenza virus.
5- I had flu this winter, I am now immune
Several strains of influenza viruses circulate during the same season. The immunity to a particular strain does not immunize you against others. And if the virus that hit you just to mutate, you might fall ill. It is also common to confuse a bad cold or gastroenteritis episode with the flu, so there is no reason not to get the vaccine. Indeed, know that the only way to confirm the flu is by analyzing a throat swab at a doctor’s office or emergency; if the test is positive, you will have a definitive answer.
6- The vaccine is available at the clinic of my doctor, and I have no time for an appointment
It’s never easier to get vaccinated against the flu. “You do not need to see your doctor for vaccination against influenza. Several options, open to you, “says Dr. Kerr. You can get it at some pharmacies or vaccination clinics in public health centers, held in malls and community centers. Finally, many employers now offer immunization.
7- If I get the flu, I just have to take antibiotics to cure
Winter flu treated with antibiotic medications. “Antibiotics only target bacteria. Because the flu caused by a virus [and not by bacteria], antibiotics are ineffective, “says Dr. Kerr. Sometimes doctors prescribe antiviral drugs, such as ”Tamiflu”, to reduce flu symptoms, but these drugs are taken at the beginning of the disease if they have little effect. “If you think you have the flu, consult your doctor immediately so that you prescribe these antiviral drugs,” he concludes.