‘Flu’ or False?

Let’s bust those myths…

Flu jabs give you flu
Flu vaccinations do not contain any live virus and the nasal spray for children contains very weakened viruses that cannot give you flu. While it is true that a small number of people can experience side effects such as headache or muscle pain, in this small number of cases this is the body’s immunity recognising the vaccine and creating a reaction.

One flu jab and you’re protected for life!
The viruses that cause flu can change every year, so you need a vaccination that matches the new viruses each year. The vaccine usually provides protection for the duration of that year’s flu season.

If you are pregnant you should have the flu vaccine
TRUE! You should have the vaccine no matter what stage of pregnancy you’re at. If you’re pregnant, you could get very ill if you get flu, which could also be bad for your baby. Having the vaccine can also protect your baby against flu after they’re born and during the early months of life.

It’s not too late to have the flu vaccine in November
TRUE! You should take up the offer of the flu vaccine when it becomes available, with the best time to have it from the beginning of October to the end of November.

You’ve had flu before so you can’t get it again
FALSE! If you’re in one of the “at risk” groups you should still get the vaccine. As flu is caused by several viruses, the immunity you naturally developed will only protect you against one of them – you could go on to catch another strain, so it’s recommended you have the vaccine even if you’ve recently had flu. Also, what you thought was flu could have been something else.

Flu can be treated using antibiotics
FALSE! Flu is caused by viruses – antibiotics only work against bacteria. You may be prescribed antiviral medicines to treat your flu. Antivirals do not cure flu, but they can make you less infectious to others and reduce the length of time you may be ill. To be effective, antivirals have to be given within a day or 2 of your symptoms appearing. A bacterial infection may occur as a result of having the flu, in which case you may be given antibiotics.

For more information on this year’s flu vaccination click here!