Flu Myths Busted!

MYTH: The flu isn’t that bad.

BUSTED!: It can be bad, especially if you’re in a high-risk population for severe flu complications including adults 65 and older and those with chronic health conditions like heart disease or diabetes, pregnant women and children under the age of 2.  

There’s a strong correlation between the flu and heart disease and stroke. During recent flu seasons, about half of all adults hospitalized for the flu also had heart disease. And a 2018 study found that the risk of having a heart attack was six times higher within a week of a confirmed flu infection.  

MYTH: The vaccine’s side effects are worse than the flu.

BUSTED!: Most people tolerate the vaccine very well. Some people report mild side effects like soreness, redness, tenderness or swelling, low-grade fever, headache and muscle aches. 

But the flu can cause much worse symptoms such as fever or feeling feverish/chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches and/or fatigue.

Reduce your chances of feeling bad after you receive a flu shot. Stay hydrated, move your body with arm circles or a walk, apply ice at the injection site if it’s sore and avoid smoking or drinking.

MYTH: I got a flu vaccine last year, so I’m good to go.

BUSTED!: You need a flu vaccine every year because immunity wanes over time and because flu virus vaccines are constantly updated to protect against the most recent strain. 

MYTH: I got my COVID-19 vaccine(s), so I don’t need a flu shot.

BUSTED!: Unfortunately your COVID-19 vaccine won’t prevent the flu since they’re caused by two different viruses. But the good news is that you can get a COVID-19 vaccine and other vaccines, including a flu vaccine, at the same visit. 

MYTH: Only elderly people need to worry about the flu. 

BUSTED!: People 65 and older are at higher risk of developing serious flu complications(link opens in new window)(link opens in new window)(link opens in new window) compared with young, healthy adults, but people from under-represented racial and ethnic groups are also hit harder by the flu. Black, Hispanic, and American Indian and Alaska Native people have had consistently higher rates of severe flu outcomes, including hospitalization and ICU admission from 2009 to 2019.

Flu myths busted infographic

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