Five flu myths – BUSTED

With flu season rapidly approaching, it’s time for people at risk to book their FREE flu jab. This means you – if you’re over 65, or you’re pregnant, or you have an underlying health condition – read the full list here.

Each year we coax and cajole everyone eligible to pop along to their local pharmacy or GP practice for a FREE flu jab. With Covid-19 putting pressure on the NHS, and increasing the risk to anyone who’s vulnerable, it’s more important than ever that you have the jab in 2020.

The good news is that people ARE getting the flu jab this year – in record numbers. We’ve even seen a shortage of vaccines in some areas – don’t worry, there will be more than enough to go round.

BUT not everyone is so keen. While some people probably haven’t got around to it, we know that others worry about things they’ve heard – online, on social media, from someone’s brother or nan…

We’d like to set the record straight. While we can’t correct everything that you might have heard about flu, here are five of the top flu myths circulating in Merton & Wandsworth this year – BUSTED.

1 THE FLU VACCINE CAN GIVE YOU FLU

This one has its roots in logic – vaccines do contain virus to provoke your body’s immune response – but the virus is DEAD, so you can’t be infected with flu.

A small number of people (one in 10) may experience very mild, flu-like symptoms or an aching arm after getting the vaccine. This is just your body recognising the vaccine and prepping your immune system. It’s nothing like flu and shouldn’t last longer than 24 hours. Less commonly, around one in 100 people may experience a fever – in which case you should seek advice from your GP.

2 IT MIGHT GIVE ME COVID

We’re not quite sure where this myth came from but it’s really not true. As we’ve said, the flu vaccine can’t give you flu – never mind another virus altogether. The flu vaccine is the best protection we have for those who are most vulnerable to Covid-19 AND flu, both of which can cause severe illness or even death.

3 I’M PREGNANT – KEEP YOUR NEEDLES AWAY

If you’re pregnant, it’s natural to be nervous – there are quite a few things you can’t eat, drink … do. But one thing that really can keep you and your baby safe is the flu vaccine.

Getting flu while pregnant puts you at risk of complications, so we’d highly recommend you have the jab – it’s safe at any time during your pregnancy. But please, talk to your GP or midwife about any concerns you might have.

And if your little one has already arrived, you should know that the vaccine poses no risk to breastfeeding babies.

4 FLU’S JUST A COLD THOUGH – ISN’T IT? 

Hmm – if you think that, you’ve probably never had flu. While some symptoms may be similar, the flu is way more severe and debilitating. Flu symptoms come on quickly, leaving you floored with aching muscles, a headache, exhaustion and fever.  Don’t fancy risking it? Better book your flu jab!

5 I’M FIT AS A FIDDLE – IT CAN’T TOUCH ME

Some people think a healthy lifestyle = a fighting fit immune system = flu-proof.

While flu is relatively harmless in most of us, some people develop potentially serious complications such as bronchitis and pneumonia, which can land them in hospital – and around 11,000 people a year in England die as a result.

Remember, even if flu doesn’t hit you hard, you could spread it to people who are susceptible, like the very young, the very old, pregnant women or people with an underlying health condition.

Still not convinced, read how we’ve busted more flu myths here.

Some people are wary about going to their GP or pharmacy right now. We want you to know that the NHS is working hard to make it safe and convenient to get your flu jab, with plenty of protective measures in place and appointment times scheduled to reduce numbers in waiting areas – find out more here.

SO, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?

Book your flu jab today at your GP practice or local pharmacy.