Hate the idea of getting sick? Hate shots? Hate not knowing what’s going into your body? Hey, we do too!
We are here to let you know how important it is to get your flu shot.
Let’s get some of the common misconceptions and myths out of the way.
Q: Every time I get the flu shot, I get sick! Does the flu shot give me the flu?
A: No. There are several reasons why people may erroneously believe they developed the flu after the shot is given.
The flu shot takes up to two weeks after administration to gain protection in the body. People are sometimes exposed to the virus shortly before receiving the flu shot, which results in becoming ill before the flu shot takes effect.
People contract “non-flu viruses” that mimick the symptoms of influenza. Unfortunately, the flu shot does not protect against all viruses.
People are exposed to an influenza virus that is not included in the current vaccine. Unfortunately, many different viruses circulate throughout the year and the flu shot only protects against most common strains.
Q: What’s in that mysterious syringe? Is it safe?
A: I would also be skeptical if I didn’t know what was going into my body. The answer is YES, it is safe. Every year, researchers and manufacturers create a vaccine that contains a virus strain they believe will be circulating in the upcoming season. The flu shot is inactivated (killed), purified, and packaged in vials or syringes.
Q: I never get sick. Why do I need to get this flu shot?
A: First off, lucky you! Unfortunately, not all of us have strong immune systems. For instance, did you know that older individuals (65+ years), pregnant women, children, and those with chronic illness (asthma, congestive heart failure, cancer, etc.) are more susceptible to flu-related complications? So, although you may not get sick, our loved ones can.
Q: I’m sure most of the inmates here are getting the shot, So it’s safe for me to sit out on this one, right?
A: In order to protect the surrounding population, at least 80 percent of individuals need to be vaccinated. It’s a little thing people like to call “herd immunity.” We’re not huge fans of the word “herd” so let’s call it “community immunity.” This is how it works. When a critical portion of the population is immunized against a contagious disease, most members of the population are protected against that disease because there is little opportunity for an outbreak.
So, now that we debunked some of the common myths, let’s get into the nitty gritty.
Influenza can be spread through the air from the respiratory tract of an infected person or by direct contact with respiratory droplets. To put it more simply, if an infected individual coughs or sneezes up to six feet away from you, droplets can land in the nose or mouth and be inhaled into the lungs. From there, you may be facing some pretty dreadful symptoms.
Flu-like symptoms tend to be an abrupt onset of fever, muscle aches, headache, fatigue, cough and or sore throat.
Last but not least, the flu can lead to serious respiratory infections, health complications, and death. So our final words to you are to prevent, prevent, prevent! Some things in life are unavoidable, but the flu is something we may be able to prevent together. By receiving the flu shot this month, we can protect ourselves and the ones we care about inside and outside.
-By Chelsea, RN and Trina, RN, SQ Medical Department