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Flu myths

You might have heard lots of conflicting information about influenza and the flu vaccination. Here we bust a few of the most common myths.

The flu jab gives you flu

It's impossible to get flu from the flu vaccine, because the vaccine doesn't contain live viruses.

A very small number of people experience side effects such as soreness, swelling or aching muscles, but this is an immune response to the vaccine.

However, immunity to influenza can take up to 14 days to develop, so you could still be vaccinated and then catch flu before you're fully protected.

That's why it's best to get the vaccine as early as possible and before there's lots of flu circulating.

Flu isn't that dangerous

For the majority of people flu is only an unpleasant illness, but for vulnerable people such as the elderly and the very young it can result in chest infections, severe complications and even death.

Vaccination's not just about keeping you safe - it's possible to carry and pass the virus to vulnerable clients without having any symptoms.

Globally, seasonal influenza accounts for 3 to 5 million cases of severe illness each year and between 250,000 and 500,000 deaths.

I had the vaccination last year so I don't need it again

The vaccine for seasonal flu can change each year, to help protect against circulating strains of the virus.

This means that the vaccine administered last year might not protect against flu this year. The vaccine's also time-limited, so annual vaccination is recommended.

I'm fit and healthy, so I don't need the vaccination

Healthy people can develop severe complications as a consequence of flu. It's also possible to carry and pass the virus to others without having any symptoms.

The vaccination is not effective against flu

The World Health Organization monitors flu globally and each year recommends the strains of flu virus that should be included in the flu vaccine for the forthcoming flu season.

There's always the possibility that the virus will change (drift) after the vaccine has been produced. This is a rare occurrence however.

If a change in the virus is detected once production has started it's not possible to change the vaccine.

However the flu vaccine is still the best protection we have against an unpredictable virus which can cause severe illness and deaths each year among at-risk groups.

You're infectious after having the jab, so you shouldn't have close contact with anyone for a period after you're immunised

The vaccine won't make you infectious to anyone, so it's safe to carry on as normal.