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Myth: The flu isn’t a serious disease.
Fact: Influenza (flu) is a serious disease of the nose, throat and lungs, and it can lead to pneumonia. Each year about 200,000 people in the U.S. are hospitalized and about 36,000 people die because of the flu. In San Diego, an average of 360 people die each year or 2 per day during flu season.
Myth: The flu shot can cause the flu.
Fact: The flu vaccine is made from a dead virus — it cannot cause the flu. The vaccine can take up to two weeks to become effective so you can still get influenza or an influenza-like illness during this time.
Myth: The flu shot does not work.
Fact: Most of the time the flu shot will prevent the flu. In scientific studies, the flu shot has been found to be 70 percent to 90 percent in healthy adults less than 65 years old.
Myth: The side effects are worse than the flu.
Fact: The worst side effect you’re likely to get from a shot is a sore arm. Some people experience low-grade fever and muscle aches. These side effects are most common the first time someone is vaccinated. They begin 6 to 12 hours after vaccination and do not last more than two days. Cough is not a side effect of vaccine. The risk of a severe allergic reaction is less than 1 in 4 million.
Myth: I’m healthy, so I don’t need a flu vaccine.
Fact: It is important to get a flu shot to prevent spreading the flu to family and co-workers.
Myth: I can stay home to prevent co-workers getting the flu.
Fact: Healthy adults may be able to infect others with the flu up to 48 hours before they start having symptoms. And up to 30 percent of people with influenza have no symptoms, allowing transmission to others.
For More Information
To learn more about Sharp's services or to find a Sharp-affiliated physician, search for San Diego doctors or call 1-800-82-SHARP (1-800-827-4277), Monday through Friday, 8 am to 6 pm. To find general information about flu care health, visit Influenza in Adult Health or read the Infectious Diseases News archive.