Myth: You can get sick from getting a flu shot.
Truth: Influenza is a highly contagious respiratory infection that can lead to serious complications such as pneumonia. More than 6 million people get sick from the flu virus each year, and complications from the illness cause thousands of deaths each year.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), everyone age 6 months and older should get the shot every year, preferably in October, the start of the flu season.
While many believe you can get sick with the flu from getting a vaccine, the CDC says this is false. Some people experience side effects, or flu-like symptoms, due to a reaction to the vaccine, but these are mild compared with getting sick from the actual virus, experts say.
The flu vaccine does not guarantee protection, but it does make you less likely to get sick and may make your disease milder if you do get sick. And, recent CDC studies indicate that the vaccine significantly reduces the risk of doctor visits and hospitalizations due to flu for people of all ages.
Vaccinations are especially important for the following people:
- People who have certain chronic medical conditions such as asthma, lung disease, cancer and diabetes
- Children under age 5, especially those younger than 2, and people age 65 and older
- Pregnant women (the shot helps protect them during pregnancy and their newborns for up to six months after they are born)
- People who live with, care for, or work around others who are at high risk for developing serious complications or spreading flu germs, i.e. caregivers, healthcare workers, daycare staff, school teachers
- Caregivers of infants younger than 6 months
Baptist Health offers flu shots for $25 at its Urgent Care locations across Kentucky. Find a Baptist Health Urgent Care near you at baptisturgentcare.com.
For more information on the flu vaccine, see cdc.gov/flu.