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5 myths about the flu shot debunked

Flue Shot-01
(Graphic by: Brett Ferrin)

I’m a big advocate for vaccines, and I am here to tell you it’s time to get your flu shot. Not sold on this marvel of modern medicine? Allow me to debunk some of the most common misconceptions about the seasonal flu shot.

“I can’t afford a flu shot.”

Actually, you can. Weber State students can get their flu shots for free from the Student Health Center, so head on over and do yourself a big favor by getting your flu shot.

“The flu shot will give me the flu.”

No, no, no, no, no. I cannot say this with enough emphasis. The flu shot does not give you the flu. The virus inside the vaccine has been severely weakened or completely inactivated, making it harmless.

Yes, I’ve heard of people getting sick after their flu shot. I’ve also heard about that one guy who only got the flu once in his life, right after getting the vaccine. The stories are endless. In the interest of basing one’s medical decisions on science rather than anecdotes, let me say once more that the flu shot will not give you the flu.

“I’m young and healthy. I don’t need a flu shot.”

Maybe you are gifted with both health and youth, but nobody exists in a bubble. Every day most of us come in contact with children, infants, pregnant women or elderly people. These are the most at-risk populations, and by not getting vaccinated we put them at even greater risk of catching the flu.

“The flu is just a really bad cold.”

While the flu and common cold share several symptoms, the flu is much more dangerous. Thousands of people die from the flu every year, so it’s important to take it seriously. Get your flu shot, and if you are experiencing flu-like symptoms seek medical attention. The staff at the Student Health Center can help you.

“There are no medications that can fight the flu.”

There are a couple of antiviral medications available to those suffering from the flu: Relenza and Tamiflu. These medications can shorten the duration of your symptoms and prevent flu-related complications. However, these drugs work best if administered within 48 hours of the onset of symptoms.

Here’s the thing, the flu is serious business. And I’m sure that most of what I’m saying isn’t news. With finals and winter break on the horizon, it’s important to keep oneself healthy. And it’s even more important to not contribute to the spread of preventable diseases to other people. So take some time, mosey on down to the Student Health Center and get your flu shot. You can thank me later.

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