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FLU SHOT FOR INFLUENZA: Should you get it? 6 Common Myths

FLU SHOT FOR INFLUENZA: Should you get it? 6 Common Myths

Do you avoid getting the flu shot? Do you avoid it because you are afraid you’ll
get sick? Or it won’t work? If so you’re not alone. Flu Shots are one of the most oft misunderstood
treatments we give in our clinic. Luckily today we are going to dispel the most
common myths regarding getting a flu shot and hopefully help you feel more comfortable
getting one. Welcome to Family Med, I’m Dr. Richardson and this is your home for practical and accurate
information to help your family make healthy decisions. This is the channel that focuses on bringing
better health to your home. So on Today’s episode we are going to be answering
6 common myths that are frequently spread about the shot. We’re going to talking about whether it can
give you the flu?, how effective is it?, when is it too late to get it?, whether you should
avoid it if you have allergies to eggs?, Is it harmful? and if you are healthy why do
you need it?. So keep watching and we’ll answer all your
questions. Before we get into those though let’s talk
a little bit about what the flu is. There is still a lot of confusion on what
we are talking about when we use the word “FLU”. A lot of times when people talk about the
flu they are thinking about the stomach virus that sends you the toilet with vomiting and
diarrhea. That’s actually something we call gastroenteritis
or what most will call it the stomach flu. No, what we are talking about today is Influenza,
this is a respiratory illness caused by the influenza virus that affects mostly the respiratory
tract. This is more than your common cold. This is a serious illness that at times can
lead to death. Unfortunately there isn’t really any good
way to treat it. Once you have it, you have it. There are some medications that can help but
not enough to rely on. If you want to learn a little more about what
it is and treatment options check out my other video on the Flu for a better discussion of
what it is. We’re not going to get into that too deep
in this video because we want to talk about the best way that you can prevent it. That’s getting a flu shot. There is a lot of misinformation and misunderstanding
about what the flu shot is and why you get it. In my experience it seems like it is something
that for the most part for whatever reason you either “believe in” or not. In my own practice there are those that get
it every year and others that won’t even think about it. Hopefully though, some of the things we discuss
today will dispel some common myths about the flu shot and help you feel more comfortable
about getting it. So why should you get it? Quite simply is that it helps and it is the
best that we have. Now we know that the flu vaccine isn’t perfect,
its not going to eliminate the flu however studies show that it is between 40-60% effective
in preventing the flu. It also shows that those who get the flu and
are vaccinated are less likely to have to see the doctor about it, Less likely if they
do get sicker that they stay out of the hospital, and if they are in the hospital, they are
less likely to need intensive care and less likely to die. Remember we are not trying to protect you
from the cold and sniffles. Influenza kills about 80,000 people a year. One other benefit from the flu shot is that
it protects your loved ones who are around you. You are less likely to spread the virus if
you’ve had your flu shot. So, especially if you are around those with
chronic illnesses, the elderly and children you should think about getting it. So let’s talk about some common myths about
the flu shot. The first one is: I don’t want to get the
flu shot because it will give me the flu! OK this one is absolutel FALSE: the shot has
no active flu virus so its impossible for it to give you the flu. The only one that has any active flu virus
is the nasal one called FluMist and even then it has been weakened so it can’t cause the
flu. I do have people say all the time though that
I got the flu shot and I got sick right after. Well, It’s certainly possible to get some
minor reaction to the shot. Most commonly you get a little sore in the
arm or may feel achy but it’s not going to be influenza. Also a few things to remember that may explain
why people get sick after a flu shot. The first is that the flu shot doesn’t protect
you immediately. It can take up to 2 weeks to take effect so
if you get the flu after getting the shot its because you were exposed to it during
this time when you weren’t immune. The second explanation has more to do with
where you got your flu shot. Where do you get your flu shot? Well, at a doctors office or pharmacy or somewhere
else where there are a lot of sick people. Its more likely you get your sickness because
you were near sick people. Not because you got a flu-shot. None of the studies have shown that you are
at increased risk for illness by getting the shot. Just the opposite. Ok, the second myth is that the flu shot just
doesn’t work. We already established that the flu shot isn’t
perfect. Its important to understand that he flu shot
is a tricky thing to develop. It is a bit of a guessing game to know what
strains of the virus are going to be most prevalent the upcoming season. They have to be picking this pretty close
to when the current flu season is ending. So its not going to be 100% effective for
every strain. The average coverage is usually between 40-60%
effectiveness. However, don’t despair, even if it isn’t 100%
effective for a specific strain studies show that you are still will get less sick than
you may have if you had not gotten it. The third myth is that it’s just too late
to get my shot At current filming this certainly isn’t the
case as Flu season is just starting but even later in the season, unless the flu season
is passed you should still get it, season lasts usually from November through March
but can go earlier or later depending on the season. It takes two weeks for it to take effect,
but still is worthwhile to get whenever. It’s going to work the best the earlier you
get it but still can be helpful if you get it late. The fourth myth is that you should avoid getting
the flu vaccine if you are allergic to eggs. Now for this one, Its true that most flu vaccines
are made using eggs as an incubation medium and some egg proteins can be incorporated
into the shot. The risk of a reaction is very low though. Unless you’ve had a significant anaphylactic
type reaction, there’s not much to worry about. Talk to your doctor about your risk but don’t
despair, even if you feel that you don’t want to risk it they do make an egg free flu shot. So talk to your doctor about getting that
one if you are worried. The fifth myth is that Flu Shots contain chemicals
that are harmful to the body Fact is that most flu shots these days are
preservative free and don’t contain all that people are worried about. Even if they did, multiple studies have looked
at the long term health effects of these compounds and have found no link to any harmful effects. Ok so the last myth that I hear is that I
never get sick so I don’t need the flu I guess my simple answer to that is I think
its great if you don’t get sick very much, hopefully it continues. Keep doing what you are doing to stay healthy
but Influenza is an equal opportunity offender. Some of the sickest people I see are those
who were healthy and didn’t get their shot. It’s kind of like the argument for car insurance. Yeah you are a safe driver but you can still
get hit. With the flu It’s almost universal that those
who really get sick regret not getting their shot
OK so there you have it, simple answers to your common questions about the Flu shot. Hopefully it helps you feel more comfortable
about getting yours and protecting yourself this winter season. So let me know what you think in the comments
below. I know its always a bit of a lightening rod
discussion to mention vaccines and shots. Everybody has their strong opinion so let’s
hear what yours is. Are you planning on getting your flu shot? Let us know in the comments below. If you’ve found this information to be helpful
do me a favor, go ahead hit that like icon and share it with your friends and family. I have a lot of other videos on different
health topics out there. So if your health is important to you consider
subscribing and hit that notification button so you don’t miss out on any of our other
content. So until next time, this is FamilyMed with
Dr. Richardson and remember to take care of your body because it’s the only one you have.

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