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Myths and Facts About Influenza

Myth:

Influenza (flu) is no more than a nuisance, much like the common cold.

Fact:

Flu is a severe and sometimes life-threatening disease. In the US, millions of people get sick, hundreds of thousands are hospitalized, and thousands or tens of thousands die from flu every year.

Myth:

You can get flu from the vaccine.

Fact:

The flu vaccine is made with flu viruses that are either weakened or have been inactivated (killed), and only broken up parts of the inactive virus are included in the vaccine. Therefore, the flu vaccine cannot cause the flu. It typically takes two weeks for the flu vaccine to become effective and during those two weeks, it is still possible for an individual to get flu or another respiratory virus.

Myth:

It is not necessary to get immunized against flu every year as protection lasts from previous vaccinations.

Fact:

Because influenza viruses change from year to year and because immunity to influenza viruses wanes within a year after vaccination, it is important to get vaccinated against flu every year.

Myth:

People shouldn’t be immunized against flu if they have any illness.

Fact:

Minor illnesses with or without fever should not prevent vaccination, especially in children with mild upper respiratory tract infections (colds) or upper respiratory allergy. Individuals with severe hypersensitivity to eggs or those who have had a previous vaccine-associated allergic reaction should avoid immunization.


Additional Resources

More Flu Resources

Flu resources from A to Z from the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID) and partners