GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – Bon Secours’ AFC Urgent Care Nurse Practitioner Sabrina Hinshaw often hears claims about the flu vaccine that she says are completely false.
“You do not get the flu from the flu shot,” she said. “When you receive the flu vaccine you are receiving a dead virus.”
That dead virus then prompts the body to strengthen its immune system, ready to fight if you were to ever be exposed to the virus.
“The flu vaccine helps you build immunity to the flu virus. Each year they try to make a vaccine based on what they’ve seen in other countries,” she explained.
There are hundreds of strains of the virus, she said, which means that even if you’ve had the flu vaccine, it is still possible to get the flu.
However, if you were to contract the flu even after receiving the vaccine, Hinshaw said the vaccine would still help you.
“Even though the virus can mutate and change and adapt, the reaction that you have won’t be as bad if you’ve had the vaccine,” she said.
If you have a slight fever or runny nose after getting the shot, that’s normal, since the body is working hard to build its immunity.
Many people are hospitalized during each flu season and Hinshaw said that if you have flu symptoms, you should visit a doctor between 12 and 48 hours of the onset of symptoms.
“A lot of times the flu testing will not show up positive if they haven’t had symptoms for at least 12 hours,” she said.
General flu symptoms include a fever at or above 101 degrees Fahrenheit, body aches, and, according to Hinshaw “basically feeling like you got hit by a bus.”
Those with respiratory illnesses, young people and elderly people are most at risk for hospitalization if they receive the flu, so Hinshaw said it is especially important for them to receive the vaccine.
Hinshaw said the vaccine takes two weeks to become effective.
She stressed that it is important for everyone over 6 months old to get the vaccine every year before Thanksgiving, which is when you are likely to interact with more people, travel and be exposed to more germs.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that you get a flu vaccine by the end of October.