The flu is so common each winter that you might think you know everything about it, but most Americans have gaps in their knowledge or significant misunderstandings when it comes to the form and function of influenza. Take a look at these commonly asked questions to see what information you might be missing.
Can the Flu Vaccine Make Me Sick?
Perhaps the biggest misconception about the flu relates to the flu vaccine. Many people believe that the vaccine can cause the flu to develop, but that’s not true! The flu vaccine contains an inactivated virus that is incapable of spreading infection. It won’t make you sick, but it will help your body develop the antibodies you need to protect against infection from the flu in the future. However, since the flu vaccine takes about two weeks to fully protect your body, it is possible that you will fall ill with the flu in that two-week period. Many people attribute this to the shot itself, but it’s simply a matter of unfortunate timing.
Should I Get the Flu Shot If I’m Pregnant?
Yes, yes, and yes! While there are many medicines and foods that you need to avoid while you are pregnant, the flu shot isn’t one of them! According to the CDC, the flu shot is the best protection against influenza for you and your baby. The antibodies that your body develops are actually passed along to your baby and provides protection for several months after she is born. This is essential since infants under six months of age cannot safely receive the flu shot themselves. Even if you’ve already had your baby, you still need to get the flu shot in order to minimize the chances that you will spread it to your baby. The same goes for other household members, relatives, and babysitters.
Why Is the Flu So Dangerous?
For most people, the flu is an uncomfortable inconvenience that lingers for a few days and disappears. But for many others like babies, the elderly, and those with weak immune systems, the flu can lead to serious and dangerous complications. Bacterial pneumonia, ear infections, sinus infections, and worsening of other chronic medical conditions can all develop from the flu. The CDC estimates that as many as 700,000 people have been hospitalized with flu-related symptoms since 2010, and flu-related deaths are estimated between 12,000 and 56,000 in America. Something as simple as a vaccination can prevent so much pain and suffering!
To learn more about the role of the flu shot in your overall health, especially if you are pregnant, postpartum, over 65, or living with a chronic condition, call (813) 571-2777 to speak to a doctor at Women’s Health and Wellness in Bradenton, Florida. With a full range of gynecology and obstetrics services, Women’s Health and Wellness can provide everything you need to live a healthy, rewarding life.