News & Events

SIHF Healthcare Clarifies Common Misconceptions About the Flu Shot While Influenza Season is Right Around the Corner

October 11, 2017

With predictions that this will be one of the worst flu seasons in history, SIHF Healthcare wants to stress the importance of getting your flu shot as soon as possible. 

Many people have reservations about getting the flu shot due to misconceptions they have heard, such as “the flu shot can give you the flu”. SIHF Healthcare wants to clear up these rumors: flu vaccines cannot cause flu illness. Flu shots given by a needle are made one of two ways: with an ‘inactivated’ virus or with no viruses at all. Side effects from the shot may simulate flu side effects such as soreness, muscle aches, or headaches, but are not evidence of having influenza. 

Another common misunderstanding is that you don’t have to get the flu vaccine every year. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a yearly flu shot for almost everyone six months and older. A person’s immunity from a vaccine declines over time, so it is important to stay up to date on your shots. On the other end of the spectrum, getting vaccinated twice will not give you “added immunity”. Only one dose of flu vaccine is recommended per adult, per season, as double dosage has shown no benefits. Double vaccinations should only be considered for certain children aged six months through eight years of age. 

One of the most common fallacy about influenza is that it is the same thing as the stomach flu; they are not the same thing at all. “Stomach flu” is a term used to describe illness with nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. These symptoms are not solely related to influenza, as they can be caused by a variety of viruses, parasites, or bacteria. The flu is a respiratory disease, not a stomach/intestinal disease. 

Many pregnant women are hesitant to get the flu vaccine, as they falsely believe it will have adverse effects. There is no recommendation for pregnant women to seek special permission from their doctor for vaccination. People who should not get the vaccine before speaking to a doctor include people with moderate-to-severe illness and people with a history of Guillain-Barre Syndrome. 

For more recommendations recently released by the Center for Disease Control about how to protect yourself from the flu in 2017-2018, visit https://www.cdc.gov/flu 

If you are ready to combat flu season, make an appointment with your local SIHF Healthcare provider. The compassionate and highly trained physicians at SIHF Healthcare have the ability to care for all patients, including children and the elderly. To find a health center location near you, visit http://www.sihf.org/health-centers.

###

About SIHF Healthcare
SIHF Healthcare operates a network of more than 30 health centers across 11 Illinois counties with more than 160 medical providers who deliver comprehensive health care services including: adult, family, women’s health, pediatrics, dental services, behavioral health, and population health services. As one of the largest Federally Qualified Health Center networks in the country, SIHF Healthcare is devoted to leading individuals and communities to their healthiest lifestyle regardless of their ability to pay. For more information, visit www.sihf.org.