The 2018/2019 flu season has turned out to be something of a marathon. According to Public Health of Seattle & King County, for the week ending April 13, the number of emergency room visits by those with flu-like illness remained above baseline levels for the year and above the five-year average for all age groups. Overall flu cases are down from the highest levels in March but seasonal flu continues to circulate in our community.
If you didn’t get your flu shot this season, it’s still not too late, especially for those in high-risk groups. To schedule a flu shot, contact your Polyclinic primary care provider.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the flu vaccine for most adults and children over six months of age. However, many hesitate to protect themselves with an annual flu shot because of some common myths. We’d like to set the record straight on getting your flu shot.
Myth: Getting the flu shot will make you sick.
Fact: The flu vaccine does not contain a live virus, and it cannot cause the flu or other illness. Other viruses common during flu season may cause illness, but that is unrelated to the flu vaccine.
Myth: You shouldn’t get the flu shot if you’re already sick.
Fact: Someone with a fever should wait until it is gone before getting a flu shot. However, someone with a respiratory illness without a fever or other mild illness is fine to get a flu shot. Since the vaccine doesn’t contain a live virus, it won’t make you sicker.
Myth: I got a flu shot last flu season so I don’t need another one.
Fact: Each season there is a different strain of influenza, which requires a different vaccine. To be protected for the upcoming season you need a flu shot each year.
Myth: Flu shots don’t work.
Fact: Flu shots are our best defense against influenza. However, you can get a flu shot and still get sick. For example, it takes your body about two weeks to build immunity after your flu shot and if you are exposed to flu in that time, you may get the virus. To avoid this, try to get your shot before the flu starts circulating in your area.