As the nation
prepares for a flu season in the midst of the global COVID-19 pandemic,
several myths and misconceptions about the flu vaccine are likely to
reappear, the Purdue University’s School of Nursing is reporting.
“The most common
reason that people avoid getting the annual flu vaccine is that they believe
they can get the flu from it,” according to a statement released this week.
But that’s not the
case, said Libby Richards, associate professor of nursing in Purdue’s
College of Health and Human Sciences. Flu vaccine is made with inactive
strains of flu, which are not capable of causing the flu.
“People may feel
under the weather after receiving the flu shot due to signs of the body’s
creating an immune response, which is actually a good thing,” Richards said.
“Common side effects from flu shots are muscle soreness at the site of the
injection. Some people may also develop a low-grade fever, headache, or
overall muscle aches. These side effects can be mistaken for the flu, but in
reality are likely the body’s normal response to vaccination.”
“Two types of flu
vaccination have been developed,” the statement said. “If a person receives
the three-component vaccination, it will provide protection from the two
strains of influenza type A and one strain of influenza type B. The
four-component vaccine will provide protection against two strains of
influenza types A and B.”
Now is the time to
get the flu shot, Richards said. Some employers provide free or discounted
flu vaccines at the workplace. Flu shots can also be obtained through local
healthcare providers, county health departments; drugstores, or big box
store pharmacies or medical clinics.
“Flu cases are
expected to start increasing early in October and may last late into May,”
Richards said. “This makes September and early October the ideal time to get
your flu shot.”