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Get the facts

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about the flu

Don't be fooled ― get the facts about the flu.

False: Getting a flu shot can cause the flu.
True: You can't get the flu from a flu shot. The flu shot does not contain a live virus. However, when your body is building its defenses, you may experience a minor reaction after getting the shot, like body aches or a mild fever for a day or two.

False: The flu isn't serious.
True: Flu causes serious illness, hospitalizations, and deaths every year. Most flu-related deaths could be prevented by immunization.

False: You can die from a flu shot.
True: It's rare to have a dangerous reaction to the flu shot. Consult with your doctor before getting a flu shot if you have a history of Guillain-Barré syndrome or if you've ever had a serious allergic reaction to eggs or a previous dose of flu vaccine.

False: You can wait and see if an epidemic breaks out, then get a flu shot.
True: It takes from 2 weeks or longer to develop immunity. That's why you need to get your shot before the flu season begins.

False: Flu shots are for old people.
True: All adults and children should get a flu shot. Even healthy adults and children can catch the flu. Find out why you should get a flu shot.

False: You don't need a flu shot if you got one last year.
True: Immunity to the flu wears off within a year. Flu viruses change often. If you're not immunized against this year's expected virus strains, you and those around you are at risk for getting the flu. Get your flu shot soon, so you will be protected before the flu season begins.

Reviewed by: Randy Bergen, MD, August 2013

Additional Kaiser Permanente reviewers

© 2011 Kaiser Permanente

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