Flu Season Mythbusters for MA Seniors

flu shot for seniorsOne thing as certain as the leaves changing in the Massachusetts fall is the return of flu season. Every year we receive a lot of questions from seniors reluctant to receive the vaccine.Most are looking for an excuse not to have to get the flu shot. Others are concerned the vaccine will actually make them sick. To help seniors get the straight scoop on flu season, we are busting some of the most common myths.

Flu Shot Mythbusters 

Myth #1: The flu shot causes a mild version of the flu.

FACT: This is undoubtedly the most commonly believed myth about flu season. The flu shot does NOT cause you to get the flu. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) “A flu shot cannot cause flu illness. The viruses contained in flu shots are inactivated (killed), which means they cannot cause infection.” 

Myth #2: I really don’t need a flu shot every year. Every few years are good enough.

FACT: There is confusion about how often to receive the flu shot and some believe it is because people assume vaccines provide longer protection. However, the flu shot is different than pneumonia or a shingles vaccine. The flu shot changes each year to target strains of the virus that health experts believe will be problematic in that year’s flu season.

Myth #3: If I get my flu shot in September or early October it will wear off before the end of flu season.

FACT: The flu shot provides protection for one year from the time you receive it. Delaying receiving the vaccine may put you at risk for catching the flu if it makes the rounds early, as it often does.

Myth #4: Medicare only pays for flu shots received at the doctor’s office.

FACT: You don’t have to go to your physician’s office. If the provider you would like to use accepts Medicare, your shot will be fully covered.

Myth #5: I can’t spread the flu unless I have symptoms of it.

FACT: Also not true. This is why it is so important for caregivers and family members of older adults to get their flu shot each year.  Estimates are that between 20-30% of those who have the flu don’t show any symptoms of the virus. 

Myth #6: Even if I get the flu, it isn’t that big of a deal.

FACT: For older adults, the flu is a very big deal.  90% of flu-related deaths and over half of hospital admissions for the flu are for people over the age of 65.

To learn more about predictions for the 2014-2015 flu season, visit Flu.gov, the official influenza site of the Department of Health & Human Services.

We’re here to answer questions and help you make the best decision for care for you or your loved one. We invite you to reach out and talk with one of our care specialists at Fall River Jewish Home today! CALL 1.508.679.6172, where assistance is just a phone call away.



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