The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that all people over the age of six months get a flu vaccine. In fact, they especially recommend it for seniors. Yet, many people don’t get flu shots each year because of myths they’ve heard about the vaccine. Because flu shots are so important for seniors, it’s essential for family caregivers to be aware of common myths concerning the vaccine.
Here are five myths, and the truth about them.
Myth #1: Flu Shots Give People the Flu
Truth: Getting a flu shot cannot give the recipient the flu. The vaccine is made with no flu virus at all or with a flu virus that has been deactivated. Therefore, there’s not virus present to give a person the flu. Even if a senior receives the nasal spray form of the vaccine, only a weakened form of the virus is present. It might cause cold symptoms, but not the flu.
Myth #2: The Flu Shot Doesn’t Really Work
Truth: Some people do get sick even after getting the vaccine. The CDC suggests this may be because the person was exposed to the flu virus before getting the shot. Or, they may be exposed to a virus that is not covered by the current vaccine. In addition, some illnesses have symptoms like the flu, such as the common cold. The flu vaccine does not protect against these illnesses.
Myth #3: Flu Isn’t That Serious
Truth: Flu can be very serious, and may even result in death. In fact, 4,605 people died as a result of the flu in 2014, according to the most recent statistics available from the CDC. Flu can also lead to dehydration, pneumonia, and worsening of chronic conditions.
Myth #4: There’s No Need to Get a Shot Every Year
Truth: The flu virus changes every year, so the vaccine does, too. Each year’s vaccine protects against the strains of flu that are most likely to occur that year. In addition, a person’s immunity can wear down as time goes on, so getting an annual shot keeps a person’s immunity at its strongest.
Myth #5: The Flu Vaccine Can Cause Serious Reactions
Truth: It is very rare for a person to have a serious reaction to the flu vaccine. If someone is going to have a serious reaction, it usually occurs soon after the vaccination. However, most people have no reaction at all.
Should your parent get the flu, hiring a home care services provider to care for them can help. Home care services providers can stay with your parent to ensure they are safe when you cannot be there. Home care services providers can assist your parent with tasks around the home so that they can get the rest they need. If your parent requires follow-up care, a home care services provider can drive them to their appointments.