Flu Myths and Facts
Many people decide against vaccination after hearing pervasive and damaging myths. Here we dispel the myths in view of extensive scientific research and advice from leading healthcare professionals.
Myth – Only old people get flu
Fact – Anyone of any age can catch flu, but older people, pregnant women and people who have certain long-term medical conditions like heart, lung, liver or kidney problems or lowered immunity. Healthcare workers are also at an increased risk of flu, especially those with direct clinical patient contact
Myth – I got the flu vaccine years ago and it gave me flu!
Fact – The flu vaccine is an inactivated vaccine and cannot cause flu.
Myth – The flu vaccine hasn’t been tested, it’s not safe!
Fact – All vaccines, including flu vaccines, have to be tested after which they are licensed for use in the UK.
Myth – It is dangerous for pregnant women and their babies to be vaccinated
Fact – During pregnancy, women are at greater risk of complications from flu, such as having a miscarriage or going into premature labour. The flu vaccine will protect you, your unborn child and can also protect your baby for three months after birth.
Myth – Flu is just a bad cold
Fact – Colds and flu are caused by different strains of virus – Colds come on gradually (runny nose, then sore throat, then a cough) but flu symptoms come on rapidly, most commonly with a fever. Flu is a much more dangerous virus which can lead to serious infections and illness.
Myth – Antibiotics can cure flu
Fact – Absolutely not. Antibiotics kill bacteria, whereas Flu is caused by viruses, which do not respond to antibiotics. The best way to protect yourself against flu is to get vaccinated as early as possible.
Myth – The flu vaccine protects you straight away
Fact – Typically, it takes about ten days for you to be protected against flu after you get the vaccine – this means that you could be immunised and then pick up flu before you are fully protected. That is why it is best to get the vaccine as early as possible before there are lots of flu viruses circulating.
Myth – The flu vaccine will stop me from catching a cold
Fact – No, it will not. The flu vaccine protects you against flu viruses. Colds are caused by other less serious viruses that are completely different from flu; you may still get winter colds after getting the flu vaccine, but you are much less likely to get flu itself.
Myth – The vaccine is not effective
Fact – Being immunised is the best protection available against an unpredictable virusthat can cause severe illness.
Myth – You cannot catch flu if you are fit and healthy
Fact – Flu is very infectious and anyone can catch flu. Flu viruses are spread by coughing, spluttering, sneezing and other ways of sharing your germs. Regular and thorough hand washing is one of the easiest ways to prevent the spread of flu.