Educating yourself on the facts is important to help prevent and spread of the flu. Flu cases are especially high this year, so we all need to understand how to protect ourselves and others," Cockerell said.
A person can still contract the flu if vaccinated, but it is effective in preventing life-threatening complications. Every flu season, children are hospitalized from the flu at Arkansas Children's. Almost every person 6 months and older should receive the flu vaccine, including pregnant women. Parents concerned about whether their child should receive the flu shot are encouraged to consult with their pediatrician or health care provider.
Learn more from Arkansas Children's about how to keep your family safe from the flu this season.
Here are common myths surrounding the flu:
Myth No. 1: “The flu vaccine gives you the flu.”
The flu vaccine does not give you the flu. It contains an inactivated part of the virus that cannot transmit infection. Like any vaccine, you may experience mild side effects such as body aches or injection site pain, lasting only one to two days. While not as common, you may also experience a low-grade fever. It takes one to two weeks to have full protection from the flu vaccine. Someone who gets sick during that time may not have had time to create an immune response.
Myth No. 2: “You can catch the flu from going out in the cold with a wet head.”
You can only catch the flu if exposed to the influenza virus. Because the flu is more common during the winter months, people often associate the flu with cold temperatures.
Myth No. 3: “Healthy people don't need a flu shot.”
Anyone can get infected with the flu. While people with chronic illnesses need protection from the flu, it is beneficial for healthy children and adults too. Children under age 5 are at a higher risk of having complications from the flu.
Myth No. 4: “The flu is just a bad cold.”
Influenza can cause mild to severe symptoms, but even the mild symptoms last for one to two weeks. Flu is responsible for many hospitalizations and deaths each year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported an estimated 390,000 flu-related hospitalizations and 25,000 flu-related deaths during the 2019-2020 flu season. Receiving a flu vaccine will decrease your chances of getting sick with the flu. Those who get the flu after being vaccinated have less chance of severe symptoms.