SCCA’s Patient & Family Education department spends a lot of time creating important educational information for our patients. But a lot of their information is useful for the general public, too. Their Facebook page posts all kinds of helpful tips and info for cancer patients, like this information about myths & facts about the flu and the flu shot. But you don’t have to be a cancer patient to benefit from reading this, or getting a flu shot!
MYTH: You can catch the flu from the vaccine.
FACT: The flu shot cannot give you the flu. The vaccine is made from dead viruses that can’t transmit infection. Some people get a little soreness or redness where they get the shot. It goes away in a day or two. Serious problems from the flu shot are very rare.
MYTH: The flu shot does not work.
FACT: Most of the time the flu shot will prevent the flu. In scientific studies, the effectiveness of the flu shot has ranged from 70 percent to 80 percent when there is a good match between circulating viruses and those in the vaccine. Getting the vaccine is your best protection against this disease.
MYTH: The flu is just a bad cold.
FACT: Flu (influenza) may cause bad cold symptoms. In the United States, 36,000 people die and more than 200,000 are hospitalized each year because of the flu.
Check out Google’s Flu Trends for the U.S. The number of people who have the flu so far this season is low for most of the country. But if you look back to 2009-2010, the flu was topping out toward the “intense” levels by October! You just never know when flu will really hit us hard.
MYTH: You cannot spread the flu if you are feeling well.
FACT: Actually, 20 to 30 percent of people carrying the influenza virus have no symptoms. These people can still spread the virus.
MYTH: You do not need to get a flu shot every year.
FACT: The flu virus changes (mutates) each year. So getting vaccinated each year is important to make sure you have immunity to the strains most likely to cause an outbreak.
MYTH: If you get the flu shot too early, it won’t last all season.
FACT: The flu shot is designed to be effective all season, so if you do choose to get one there’s no reason to wait. As the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention states: “Flu vaccination provides protection against the flu strains contained in the vaccine that will last for the whole season. Vaccination can begin as soon as vaccine is available.”
What can you do?
Get a flu shot. We’re required to have them as employees at SCCA. It’s important that we don’t spread this disease to our patients who have compromised immune systems and those with chronic diseases should be protected from the flu, too.
If you have any questions, please contact our Patient & Family Education department at (206) 288-1033 or (206) 288 – 1472.