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24120 Meadowbrook Road, Suite 201
Novi, MI 48375
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Dr. Rowe's Allergy and Asthma Blog

Misconceptions about Influenza Injections

The single best way to prevent the flu is to get a flu vaccination each year.

So, why are some individuals reluctant to receive a flu shot?

  • “It will give me the flu.”

No, a flu shot cannot cause a flu illness.  The viruses contained in the vaccine are inactivated (killed), which means that they cannot cause infection.

This differs from the nasal spray vaccine that does contain live virus and is not recommended for asthmatics or their household contacts.

  • “It is better to get the flu than the flu vaccine.”

No.  Influenza can be a serious disease, particularly among young children, older adults, and people with chronic health conditions including asthma.  Flu infections carry a risk of serious complications leading to hospitalizations and possibly death, even in previously healthy children and adults.  Getting vaccinated is a safer choice than risking illness to achieve immune protection.

  • “I don’t need a flu shot.  I had one last year.”

Yearly flu vaccinations are recommended even if the viruses did not change from the previous year.  The immune protection from the vaccine declines over time.  Typically though, the virus strains change from year to year and the immunity achieved is very specific for each viral strain.

  • “I’m afraid of a reaction to the flu shot.”

The most common reaction is soreness, redness, or swelling at the injection site, usually lasting less than two days.  This is considerably less severe than the symptoms caused by the actual influenza illness. 

  • “I just got over the stomach flu.  Why do I still need a flu shot?”

The term “stomach flu” usually describes an illness with nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.  These symptoms are typically caused by other viruses, not the influenza virus.  The flu is a respiratory disease, not a stomach or intestinal disease.

Don’t fall victim to the flu this year!

Call our office at 248-473-6400 and arrange to receive your flu shot!  Family members and friends are welcome.

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