Flu Shot Myths

At this point it’s probably safe to say that infection prevention fatigue has set in. And now, we’re talking about the flu. But there’s good news – we know how to prevent the flu and there’s a vaccine!

According to the CDC, the first and most important step in preventing flu is to get a flu vaccine. As Dr. Karmes recently shared, the flu vaccine has been shown to reduce flu related illnesses and the risk of serious flu complications that can result in hospitalization or even death. CDC also recommends everyday preventive actions (like staying away from people who are sick, covering coughs and sneezes and frequent handwashing) to help slow the spread of germs that cause respiratory (nose, throat, and lungs) illnesses, like flu.

Are you still on the flu vaccine fence? Is your head swirling with everything you’ve heard about the vaccine? We get it. So, we’ve compiled some flu myths and facts to help make your decision a bit easier.

According to the CDC, during the 2018-2019 season, the flu shot prevented an estimated 2.3 million flu-related medical visits, 58,000 flu-related hospitalizations and 3,500 flu-related deaths.

Myth: If I get sick with the flu, it won’t be that bad.
Fact: The seasonal flu can be a particularly dangerous disease, especially for those with a compromised immune system and chronic health conditions. Some groups of people, like young children and the elderly, are at high risk for serious complications from the flu.


Myth: The flu shot will give me the flu.
Fact: The flu shot does not cause you to get sick. Flu vaccines are created with inactivated viruses. The nasal spray option does contain a live, weakened virus, but doesn’t cause illness in recipients.

Myth: The flu shot makes me feel so crummy. It’s better not to get it.
Fact: yes, some people do report experiencing minor side effects after receiving their flu shot. These can include low-grade fever, headache, muscle aches, and soreness at the injection site. These side effects usually begin shortly after vaccination and can last 1-2 days. These side effects are considerably less severe than any symptoms from the flu. The flu shot doesn’t give you the flu.

If you’re still wondering if the flu shot is right for you, we recommend you discuss your options with your primary care provider or call 207-907-1000.

Be healthy Maine.