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Debunking Common Myths About the Flu

If you’ve never had the flu, you may think of it as just a bad cold. If you’ve ever had the flu, you know just how terrible it can be. There is a lot of misinformation circulating about the flu, but don’t let the myths leave you unprepared for flu season.  

Just in time for the worst of the 2018-2019 flu season, we’re debunking common flu myths to help protect you and your family in the months ahead:

Myth #1: The flu isn’t that bad.

There were more than 80,000 flu-related deaths in the United States last winter. People older than 65 accounted for nine out of 10, but the flu also killed 180 young children and teenagers, according to the CDC. Despite the risks, the CDC estimates that only 37.1 percent of adults 18 or older were vaccinated last flu season, down 6.2 percentage points from the year before.

Myth #2: You don’t need a flu shot every year.

The flu is always changing. Last year's flu shot will not protect you from this year's flu strains. In fact, multiple strains of the flu circulate every year, and it’s possible to contract different strains of the flu in the same year. To ensure your best protection against the flu each year, get the flu shot as soon as possible to allow your body's immune system the time it needs to build up protective antibodies against the virus. There are six types of vaccines that can protect you from the flu, so talk with your healthcare provider about which one will work best for you.

Myth #3: The flu shot will give you the flu.

If you feel sick shortly after receiving a flu vaccine, you may believe that the vaccine caused your illness.

However, as outlined by the World Health Organization, the flu shot is made from an inactivated virus and can't transmit infection. Side effects like achiness and fever are normal reactions of your immune system and should only last a day or two. If symptoms last longer than a few days, check with your health care provider. It can take a week or two for a vaccine to start protecting you, so it’s possible to catch the flu before the vaccine takes effect.

It's never too late to get a flu shot. The vaccine is typically available from your health care provider, as well as from community health centers and pharmacies, throughout the fall and winter. The flu vaccine works best when the entire community is vaccinated, so even if you don’t want to get a flu shot for yourself, get one for your neighbor!

If you do get sick this flu season, consider participating in prescription discount programs like Community Cares Rx to track down the best prices on your flu care and other medications. To learn more about consumer prescription savings programs that deliver real results for pharmacies and the community at large, please visit

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