1. The flu vaccine gives you flu
Starting off with the big fib. No, it doesn’t. The injected flu vaccine given to adults contains inactivated flu viruses, so it can’t give you flu. Your arm may feel a bit painful where you were injected, and some people get a slight temperature and muscles ache for a couple of days afterwards. Other reactions are possible but very rare.
2. Flu can be treated with antibiotics
No, it can’t. 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.
3. Flu is just a bad cold
We wish. You’ve all heard someone say “no, it’s not just flu, it’s proper flu” when someone’s been struck down. A bad bout of flu is much worse than a heavy cold. Flu symptoms come on suddenly and sometimes severely. They include fever, chills, headaches and aching muscles, as well as a cough and sore throat. You’re likely to spend 2 or 3 days in bed. If you get complications caused by flu, you could become seriously ill and have to go to hospital.
4. I’m pregnant, so I shouldn’t have the flu jab because it will affect my baby
You should have the vaccine no matter what stage of pregnancy you’re in. If you’re pregnant, you could get very ill if you get flu, which could also be bad for your baby. Having the jab can also protect your baby against flu after they’re born and during the early months of life.
5. Once you’ve had the flu vaccine, you’re protected for life
No, you aren’t. 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.