December 7-13th is National Influenza Vaccination Week
With flu season in full affect, it is important to dissolve any myths associated with the flu vaccination. Common discrepancies about the vaccine are centered on misguided information about what the shot actually does. A common myth is that the flu vaccine can actually make a person contract the flu. This is false. The viruses in flu shots are killed during the production phase of the vaccine, making it so the vaccine cannot cause any infection. A second misconception is that the flu vaccine does not last the duration of flu season. The flu vaccine is designed to last through the entire flu season and the Center for Disease Control recommends that everyone over the age of six months be vaccinated. The third myth often associated with the flu vaccine is associated with the danger of the vaccine in relation to pregnant women. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists suggest that the flu vaccine be an essential part of prenatal care. The CDC has also stated that the flu vaccine has not been shown to cause harm to pregnant women or their babies. The last major myth surrounding the flu vaccine is that if a person has had the flu previously and it was not as debilitating as expected, then there is no need to have the vaccine. This outlook is particularly dangerous due to flu tolls fluctuating each year. Between 1976 and 2007 the flu was linked to as low as 3,000 individuals to as many as 200,000 diagnosed with the flu.
During the September 29, 2013 to July 19, 2014 flu season, South Carolina had over 56,000 reported positive influenza specimens. This number is greatly reduced to the over 74,000 cases the previous season; however, that does not mean this flu season tolls will continue to decline. Department of Health and Environmental Control advises all members of the community to take proper precautions regarding the flu. The CDC recommends that everyone take the most preventative measure by receiving the influenza vaccine. For more information about the flu vaccine click here.