What You Need to Know About the Flu Vaccine
The Flu Vaccine: Fact vs. Fiction
New school year means new people, new germs, and new strains of the flu. Every year, Health Services posts flyers around campus to promote the flu vaccine. Many students will get it because it is free and seems like the right thing to do. While others do not get it because they believe it is harmful, or that they simply do not need it.
The flu is an illness that will never disappear. Students need to know the facts about the flu vaccine, so that they can make the right decision. Here are some common myths about the flu vaccine:
Myth: It is unnecessary to get a flu shot every year.
Fact: Flu viruses are always changing. Every year there are new strains of the flu, so it is important to get the flu vaccine annually to decrease your risk of contracting the virus.
Myth: The flu vaccine works right away, so I do not need to get it until I see others starting to get sick.
Fact: It takes about two weeks for the flu vaccine to kick in. The antibodies need time to develop in the body in order to protect against the virus. The best time to get the flu vaccine is at the beginning of the fall semester, before the virus starts to make its way around campus!
Myth: Getting the flu vaccine gives you the flu.
Fact: The flu shot contains the dead flu virus, so you cannot get the flu from the shot. There are a few mild side effects you can get from the flu shot such as, soreness or redness around the injection site, a low grade fever, and aches. These side effects do not last long, and are very minor compared to the symptoms of the flu virus.
Myth: The flu vaccine contains high doses of mercury, which causes autism.
Fact: Thimerosal is a safe preservative found in some multi-dose vials of vaccines. It is mercury-based and prevents the vaccine from becoming contaminated with bacteria. The CDC, FDA, and National Institutes of Health (NIH) have approved the usage of thimerosal in vaccines. There have been numerous studies done that show there is no relationship between thimerosal and autism, it is simply a rumor!