It’s officially flu season and the best way to prevent your kid from getting sick is to make sure they get their flu shot. It’s common sense. Doctors almost unanimously agree. Unfortunately, an alarming new survey from Orlando Health finds that parents, due to whatever anecdotal misconceptions, don’t believe it. In fact, more than half of parents surveyed believe that the flu shot actually gives a person the flu, while a third admitted that they didn’t think the flu shot really does anything at all.
Both of these beliefs are patently false. Getting a flu shot in no way causes anyone to contract the flu ⏤ although some patients do have mild reactions to the vaccine that they erroneously equate to having the illness ⏤ and the shot is far from useless, as it’s the most proven method to protecting against the virus. However, people are still convinced of these popular misconceptions despite the fact that they have been debunked time and time again by doctors, experts, and scientists, including Jean Moorjani, a pediatrician at Orlando Health Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children.
“The parts of the virus that are used are completely dead, so you cannot get the flu from the flu shot,” Moorjani explained. “After receiving the shot, it takes your body about two weeks to build up antibodies to fight the flu, so if you come in contact with the virus during that time, you may still get sick, which is why you should get your flu shot as early as possible.”
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Of course, a flu shot isn’t a cure for the flu, so getting one doesn’t guarantee that you and your kid won’t end up getting sick. The shot does, however, greatly reduce a person’s flu risk. And considering that172 kids died from flu last year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, you don’t want to risk your child’s health by not getting them a shot. Experts recommend anyone who is older than six months and healthy receive a flu shot.
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