It’s impossible to get flu from the influenza shot.
While you may have never gotten into a terrible car accident, you still wear a seatbelt. The flu vaccine can be similar protection. Each flu season is different, but some of the statistics stay the same. According to the CDC, “millions of people get the flu every year, hundreds of thousands of people are hospitalized and tens of thousands of people die from flu-related causes every year.”
As Pam Butler, Morrow County Health Commissioner states, “Everyone 6 months of age and older should get the flu shot each year. It’s the best way to help protect yourself against the flu.”
“You should get vaccinated before the flu starts spreading in Morrow County,” states Stephanie Bragg, Morrow County Assistant Health Commissioner and Director of Nursing. “It takes about 2 weeks after you get the shot for your body to develop antibodies which protect you from the flu.”
On Saturday, Morrow County Health District partnered with Morrow County EMS and Hursh Drug Pharmacy to offer a Community Walk-In Flu Clinic to Morrow County residents. While there was a good amount of participation from local first responders and community members, Morrow County Health District wants to remind all Morrow County residents to get the flu shot.
If you missed this Saturday’s Walk-In Flu Clinic, check with your local pharmacy as Mount Gilead’s Discount Drug Mart, Kroger, Rite Aid and Margeno’s Essentra all offer walk-in flu shots. The Morrow County Health District also offers flu shots by appointment.
When thinking about getting a flu shot this year, you may be reminded of the common flu shot myths. We sat down with Stephanie Bragg who dispelled some of these.
Myth: the flu shot will make you sick. “You can’t get the flu from the flu shot. The flu shot uses an inactivated (dead) virus, and a dead virus can’t give you the disease. You may have a sore arm or run a low grade fever after the flu shot, but that’s not the same as getting the flu.”
Myth: You don’t need a flu shot this year if you got one last year. “The influenza virus is smart, and it changes a little bit each year in order to be able to keep infecting people. We need a flu vaccine each year to make sure that we can try to be protected from the virus as it changes.”
Myth: Flu shots don’t work. “No medicine is 100 percent effective, and the fact that the flu virus changes itself each year makes it even more challenging. Every year, scientists study past and current flu viruses to come up with the most effective flu vaccine that they can. Recent studies show that getting the flu vaccine protects you from the flu 40 to 60 percent of the time. It may not be perfect protection, but I’d rather lower my chances as much as I can; getting the flu vaccine helps do that.
Flu vaccines are helpful as long as viruses are out there, and the flu season can last into April. The CDC advises people to become vaccinated by the end of October. The longer you wait, the more susceptible you become. Even a late vaccination can help more than no vaccination at all. To contact the Morrow County Health District call 419-947-1545 or visit MorrowCountyHealth.org
Jocelyn Fykes is Emergency Preparedness Planner, Morrow County Health District.