Flu shot- not too late

National Influenza Vaccination Week is Dec. 4-10 and it’s time to get real about the flu and the flu shot. If you get your news from around the Internet, you know there are many theories (and some not true) about the topic. If you want solid information, visit reliable news sources and do your homework.

For instance, just because flu has already started appearing in the state does not mean it’s too late for a flu shot. And just because a person is healthy and isn’t typically bothered by illness or viruses doesn’t mean that’s a reason not to get the vaccination.

Here are some myths (and facts) about flu and flu shots.

Myth: I don’t need the flu vaccine. I’m a healthy person and I hardly ever get sick.

Fact: If you don’t want to get it to protect yourself, get it to protect others around you. Do you come in contact with older persons, children, babies, pregnant women, people who are immunocompromised or struggle with a chronic health condition? Those are the folks that are most susceptible to. Also, you may get the flu and come through it okay. But these susceptible individuals may become quite ill, need hospitalization, and experience complications.

Myth: If I get sick, I’ll just stay home from work or school until I’m not contagious.

Fact: You can have the flu (and be contagious) and not have symptoms yet. Twenty to 30% of people carrying the influenza virus have no symptoms.

Myth: I got the flu shot last year. I don’t need it again so soon.

Fact: The influenza virus changes and mutates every year. Each year’s flu vaccine is based on strains from the previous years to help increase protection.

Myth: You can die from it.

Fact: You won’t die from the flu shot, but you could die from the flu. This includes children and adults who are very healthy.

Myth: The shot won’t help the stomach flu.

Fact: There is no stomach flu; however, there are gastrointestinal illnesses. But that’s not the flu. 

Myth: It’s not such a big deal. I’ve had really bad colds before and I do fine.

Fact: Then you have never had real influenza. It hits you hard, and fast. The muscle soreness and headaches alone are the worst ever, and add to that a fever, sore throat, and a cough, and you’ll spend at least three days or more flat on your back.

It’s not too late to get the shot. It takes two weeks for immunity to build up so you have the proper resistance. With the holidays approaching and the expected gathering of people, now is a great time to visit your medical provider and be prepared.