One in five Americans will get the flu this winter, with more than 200,000 sick enough to be hospitalized. Yet most of us still don't get vaccinated, often because of misconceptions about the shot. Here are four of the most common, along with the facts you need to know.
1. Myth: Only the elderly and those at high risk need to be immunized.
Fact: Influenza can make anyone, including the healthiest among us, seriously ill, and even if you don't develop symptoms yourself, you can pass the virus on to others.
2. Myth: The flu shot itself can give you a case of the flu.
Fact: The virus used in the vaccine is grown in chicken eggs and killed off before it reaches your bloodstream. There's absolutely nothing in it capable of causing the flu.
3. Myth: You need a doctor's appointment for a shot. Who has time?
Fact: Drugstores and health clinics across the country provide walk-in vaccinations, and more and more local health organizations are setting up drive-through flu shot clinics.
4. Myth: If I have a cold, I should postpone getting a flu shot.
Fact: As long as you're not suffering from a major illness or running a temperature higher than 101°F, the flu shot doesn't present a health risk for you, according to experts.
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