Many people avoid or ignore getting the flu shot due to the countless number of flu shot myths that go around. This can have serious effects to their health or to the health of their children or their aged relatives and their sick family members. This article presents facts that tell the truth behind the myths and will enable you to make an informed decision.
- The flu can be a dangerous ailment, or even fatal
The disease can be easily contracted through the air. Therefore, without the vaccine, it becomes very easy to get infected. Upon infection, the disease stays in the body for about four days without showing its signs and symptoms. During this time the immune system weakens and at the same time, the person can infect others involuntarily. To the aged, young kids and people with chronic diseases, the flu can lead to hospitalization and even death due to their weak or underdeveloped immune systems.
- The flu virus constantly changes
The virus can mutate in two different ways, the antigenic drift and the antigenic shift. In the antigenic drift, small changes occur in the genes of the virus over time as compared to the antigenic shift where the change occurs at once. In both cases, the virus mutates often by changing its common strain which consequently means there might be one of three possible different strains of the flu in a particular year. As such, the previous vaccination might not be effective in protecting an individual against infection. More so the body’s response to the shot decreases in time thus making it necessary to get a vaccine yearly.
- The vaccine is essential to high-risk groups
There are quite a number of high-risk groups. They include children, pregnant women, breastfeeding women, the elderly and people with chronic diseases. The children are young with developing bodies which means their immune system is underdeveloped. They, therefore, are more vulnerable to the flu and hence require the vaccine. Pregnant women undergo various changes to vital organs such as the heart, lungs, and also their immune system. These changes make the flu more dangerous to their bodies and to their developing babies, thus raising the chances of labor and delivery occurring before the right and suitable time. Babies get the antibodies required to fight the virus from their mother’s milk, thus it is important for the mother to get vaccinated. The older people and people with chronic diseases have weak and diminishing immune systems which increase their risk of getting infected. The vaccine enables them to fight against the virus effectively.
- The shot works effectively unlike antibiotics
Since the flu is a virus, antibiotics cannot work since they only work against bacteria. In such a case they might make the situation much worse. Antiviral medication makes a person less infectious and it might help get you over the disease fast but this does not get rid of the disease entirely. And for them to work properly you need to get them as soon as the flu first appears.