About Flu Shots - Fact or Myth?

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  • False. Influenza (flu) is far more dangerous than a cold. It’s a disease of the lungs, and it can lead to pneumonia. Each year more than 200,000 people in the U.S. are hospitalized from flu complications, and about 36,000 people die because of the flu. Most who die are over 65 years old. But small children less than 2 years old are as likely as those over 65 to have to go to the hospital because of the flu.

  • False. Flu vaccines are made from killed influenza viruses. These cannot give you the flu.

  • Maybe. This can happen, but the flu vaccine usually protects most people from the flu. However, the flu shot will not protect you from other viruses that can cause illnesses that sometimes feel like the flu.

  • False. No vaccine is 100% effective. However, if you get a flu shot but still get the flu, you are likely to be far less sick than you would have been without the protection.

  • False. The worst side effect you’re likely to get is a sore arm. The risk of a rare allergic reaction is far less than the risk of severe complications from influenza.

  • True. If you are allergic to eggs (used in making the vaccine), are very ill with a high fever, or have had a severe reaction to the flu vaccine in the past, you might not be able to get this protection.

  • False. Both adults and children who are in good health need a flu shot to stay healthy. Even if you aren’t at high risk of complications, you should get a flu shot to prevent the flu and to protect those around you.