Flu vaccine: Fact vs. fiction

Doctors say flu shot doesn't make you sick, but you may need two

By Kala Rama , Allison McGinley - News Director

ORLANDO, Fla. - Sneezing, coughing, aches and pains. You may think the flu is just a week long nuisance, but you can take a turn for the worse and do so quickly.

That's why Orlando doctor Jonathan Schwartzman with Centra Care says it's important to get your flu shot now.

He breaks down the facts versus the fiction when it comes to the flu vaccine.

Myth #1: The flu shot is only for babies, those with a weaker immune system or older folks.

Schwartzman says people of all ages, even in great health, should get their flu shot because the numbers are startling. Forty to fifty-thousand people die every year and it's not just the sick and elderly.

Myth #2: October is too soon to get your flu shot.
"I would say the sooner the better to get your flu shot especially if you are in a high risk group, people with heart problems, asthmatics, diabetics, and even pregnant woman," said Schwartzman.

Flu season runs from now until March or April with the peak being in February.
The vaccination will keep you protected for four to five months, but people with a weaker immunity may consider getting two flu shots in one season.

Myth #3: You get sick from the flu shot.

"Not the case, while the shot is simulating immune reaction within your body and you can get a little achy, it's not the flu that you have got," said Schwartzman, "It's a dead vaccine that you are getting. Side effects from vaccine would be a lot less than if you were to get the flu."

If you do feel like you have the flu this winter, Schwartzman says it's important to get to the doctor within 48 hours after symptoms start. Beyond that point, medicines that treat the flu like Tamiflu won't help.

If you miss that window for medication, mom's chicken soup is usually what the doctor orders.

Schwartzman says there's some research that says chicken soup boosts white blood cells to help you fight off infections.

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