Health & FitPSA: It’s Time to Stop Believing That a Flu Shot Gives You the Flu
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Everyone’s least-favorite time of year is well on its way: flu season. Preparation can include stocking up on hand sanitizer, soft tissues, and making an appointment for your annual flu shot.
But getting vaccinated isn’t on everyone’s to-do list, in part because many people think the flu shot gives you the flu. In fact, Orlando Health Arnold Palmer Hospitallast year and found more than half of them believed the flu shot could make you sick.
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So we spoke to, senior director of infection prevention at Johns Hopkins Health System and associate professor of medicine for Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, to ask her to settle the debate once and for all.
Can the flu shot make you sick?
According to Dr. Maragakis—and, and every other flu expert on the planet—the answer is flat-out no. “It’s not a live virus vaccine,” says Dr. Maragakis. “It’s a killed or inactivated virus and can’t make you sick.”
So, why do people think the flu shot can make you sick?
The truth is, side effects of the flu shot might make you feel a little bit under the weather. “When you get a vaccine, it’s really triggering your immune system to respond so that it learns how to fight off the influenza virus and can protect you,” says Dr. Maragakis.
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That process of activating the immune system can sometimes feel like you’re catching something because you start to feel achy, and your arm might get a little sore. Some people even develop a low-grade fever as the immune system responds to the vaccination—but it’s not a contraction of the flu, she explains.
Plus, there are so many different viruses circulating during the flu season, there’s no guarantee you won’t get sick from something other than the flu. “A fair number of people get the flu vaccine, and it just so happens that they caught something else around the time and they link the two things together in their minds,” says Dr. Maragakis. That’s why you also need to be cautious about washing your hands frequently and avoiding touching your face, even after you’ve had the flu vaccine.
Then there’s the chance you could catch the flu beforeyour vaccine has had enough time to build up the antibodies that fend off influenza. That takes about two weeks, and unfortunately, it’s possible that you could catch the flu during that 14-day period. That’s part of the reason why the CDC recommends getting your flu shot.
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How effective is the flu shot, anyway?
You’ve probably heard that the flu shot isn’t 100 percent effective, and that’s true. The flu vaccine changes every year based on the specific viruses currently circling the globe. More thanretrieve flu samples from patients year-round, and based on the data they collect, they select the viruses they believe are most likely to circulate during the following flu season. In the end, the flu shot usually ends up being 40 to 60 percent effective, .
Why it’s still important to get a flu shot
Even if you wind up catching a flu strain that wasn’t covered in the vaccine,shows being inoculated lessens your risk of developing severe complications from the disease. And yes, flu complications can be serious. During the 2017-2018 season, more than 900,000 people were hospitalized with the flu, and about 80,000 people died.
It’s also important to remember that skipping the flu shot isn’t just dangerous for you—it’s dangerous for the people around you who are particularly prone to complications, such as people 65 and older, children younger than 5, pregnant women, and people with long-term medical conditions like heart disease, lung disease, and diabetes.
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Influenza vaccination: is it useful?
Coughs catch almost everyone at least once a year. Annoying, but that's over. However, anyone who has been struck down by a real flu knows what suffering is. And the next flu epidemic is coming. Therefore, you should know these facts:Who should get vaccinated against flu?
With just one flu shot, you can effectively protect yourself from getting infected with flu viruses and the potential consequences. Therefore, in principle, everyone should be vaccinated, according to the experts of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI). Above all, the Standing Vaccination Commission (STIKO) at the RKI recommends a flu vaccine for people with an increased risk of infection, the so-called "risk groups". These include people with chronic conditions such as immunodeficiency, diabetes, heart disease and asthma, people working in hospitals, old people's homes or kindergartens, as well as people over the age of 60 and pregnant women.
>>>How does the protection against influenza viruses work?
The flu viruses are changing frequently, so the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends a new composition every year for the production of current flu vaccines. In this way, flu epidemics can be prevented, explains Susanne Glasmacher of the RKI. The Federal Joint Committee decided in April 2018 that the flu vaccination should take place from the next vaccination season with a quadruple vaccine.Should you be vaccinated before the flu epidemic?
The best time for vaccination is between September and November. At the time, the flu epidemic has not broken out in the normal case, since it develops only in January, says Glasmacher. But even at a later date, even at the beginning of the flu epidemic flu vaccine makes sense, but it must be remembered that the vaccine protection takes 10 to 14 days to be fully established.
>>>How long does the flu protection last?
One should be vaccinated once a year against the influenza, since in each flu season other pathogens can be involved, so glassmakers. The vaccine composition is adjusted each year to the expected influenza viruses. Also, the protective effect diminishes over time and probably lasts only one season, according to the experts of the RKI.How much does a flu shot cost?
For people who belong to one of the "risk groups", the flu vaccine is free. For all other legally insured there are no nationwide regulations and no obligation of health insurance companies to pay the costs. It is regional and cash-dependent, whether the vaccination costs are reimbursed, so Tanja Hinzmann of the Kassenärztliche Federal Association.When side effects occur, when do they usually occur?
Side effects may occur occasionally within the first 3 days after vaccination. Slight redness, swelling of the puncture site or general symptoms such as tiredness, fever and nausea are possible manifestations. These symptoms are usually short-lived, says Glasmacher. The fear of getting influenza from vaccination is unfounded. Because the vaccine consists of fragments of already killed viruses, so that it can no longer develop disease. Very rarely does one sustain permanent damage after vaccination against the flu.Who should not get vaccinated?
Those who suffer from a feverish cold with over 38 degrees fever or a severe infection, should be vaccinated at a later date. Anyone who has a severe allergy to chicken protein or other components of the vaccine should discuss this in advance with their doctor.
>>>When is a vaccine useful during pregnancy?
Your sweetheart is pregnant? The spokeswoman for the Federal Center for Health Education (BZgA) advises: "Influenza during pregnancy can seriously endanger the health of both mother and child, for example, the risk of severe flu progression increases over the course of pregnancy, such as one In addition, a flu infection during pregnancy increases the risk of growth delays and miscarriages or premature births.A flu shot for pregnant women can protect against these dangers. "
Since the approved influenza vaccines for adults in Germany are so-called dead vaccines, vaccination is always possible at any stage of pregnancy. For healthy pregnant women the STIKO recommends the vaccination from the second trimester of pregnancy. "Women who have a recommendation for a flu vaccine because of a chronic underlying disease should be vaccinated right at the beginning of the vaccination season in the fall, and vaccination is recommended as early as the first trimester of pregnancy," said the expert.When can you do sports again after a flu shot?
"There is nothing wrong with light physical activity such as walking or moderate cycling after vaccination," says the vaccination expert. "Extreme sports activities, such as athletic competitions, should be avoided immediately after vaccination."
>>>Conclusion: 100% certainty against cough and runny nose is not there
Even with a flu shot you are not completely safe from coughing and runny nose. On the one hand, a flu vaccine does not protect against bacterial colds. And on the other hand, you can catch influenza viruses that the vaccine serum does not immunize against. The bottom line, however, is worth the small vaccine spades against influenza, because it reduces the risk of developing a true flu with its severe disease symptoms, enormously.
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