Now is the time to get the flu vaccine! Dr. Shannon Neal of HealthPartners helps clear up some common misconceptions.
MINNEOPOLIS – Health officials say there has been strong activity this year among people receiving the flu vaccine. They say this is encouraging because it helps protect communities from spreading the virus and will prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed with patients during a pandemic. But there are still some myths that stop people from getting the flu.
Now is the time to get your flu shot, so Dr. Shannon Neal, a family doctor at Park Nicollet with HealthPartners, has helped dispel some common myths about the flu.
The first, so-called studies, suggested that the shot could increase the risk of getting COVID-1
“Studies will be published that will make everyone nervous and then not be able to reproduce,” Neil said. “It’s really important not just to believe something you’ve read on the Internet, but to really investigate it and see if there’s any fact behind it and if it’s justified by other research,” she said.
Neil says he hears regularly that you can’t catch the flu from the vaccine.
Neil said it’s important to keep in mind that the vaccine only protects you against one strain of flu, so you I can catch another strain. So yes, you can get a virus, but the vaccine itself is safe and doesn’t give you the flu.
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“We know it’s safe, you can’t get the flu from the flu shot,” Neil said. She believes that the misconception comes from people who have the flu and have a mild reaction to the vaccination itself.
“Whether it’s just the vaccine site, getting some redness, swelling, pain there, sometimes people can get more generalized body pain for a day or two, maybe a headache, maybe even a low-grade fever or some mild GI symptoms and then they think they got the flu, but actually what they have is a reaction to the vaccine itself, “Neil said.
There is also the idea that healthy people should not be vaccinated. Neil said they could still be infected with viruses and had to fire to protect themselves and the people around them.
Neil said that this myth disturbs her mind: It is better to get the flu than the vaccine.
She said people could eventually die from the flu. Even young people. “The flu mainly affects young children, pregnant women, the elderly and people with health conditions,” Neil said. “But we know a lot of young healthy people who have died from the flu.”
How about the other side of the spectrum that you have to get the flu twice to boost your immunity?
Neil said studies show that makes no difference. “The only people recommended to be vaccinated twice in one season are young children who have never had a flu vaccine before.
Neil said the immunity from the shot lasted about six months. That’s why you get it in the fall, so you’re covered during the peak season until the end of the season, which is around May. She said that if you think it’s too late to take it in November, the best option is to get vaccinated anyway.