Myths and Facts About Influenza for Consumers

Myth:

Influenza is no more than a nuisance, much like the common cold.

Fact:

Influenza is a severe and sometimes life-threatening disease that accounts for an average of 36,000 deaths and more than 200,000 hospitalizations in the US each year.

Myth:

You can get influenza from the injectable vaccination.

Fact:

The injectable vaccine does not contain any live bacteria so it is impossible to get influenza from it. There may be some side effects, such as mild soreness, redness or swelling at the injection site, headache or a low-grade fever.

Myth:

It is not necessary to get immunized against influenza every year as protection lasts from previous vaccinations.

Fact:

Because influenza viruses change from year to year and because immunity to influenza viruses wanes within a year after vaccination, it is important to get vaccinated against influenza every year.

Myth:

People shouldn't be immunized against influenza if they have any illness.

Fact:

Minor illnesses with or without fever should not prevent vaccination, especially in children with mild upper respiratory tract infections (colds) or upper respiratory allergy. Individuals with severe hypersensitivity to eggs or those who have had a previous vaccine-associated allergic reaction should avoid immunization.