Texas MD Monthly talks with CommuniCare’s Dr. Marjan Abedi Linnell about common myths surrounding the flu and getting to the truth, myth busters style.
TxMD: What is “the flu?”
Dr. Marjan Abedi Linnell: The flu is a viral illness that is typically spread by droplets passed from person to person, like when someone with the flu is coughing, sneezing or talking. It could also be spread from touching a surface that has been contaminated with the flu virus. Now for some common myths about the flu and flu vaccine.
“In the 2014-2015 influenza season, a total of 141 laboratory-confirmed, flu-associated pediatric deaths were reported in the US.” -Dr. Marjan Abedi Linnell
TxMD: I’m healthy, and have never gotten the flu or the flu vaccine, so why should I get the vaccine this year?
Dr. Marjan Abedi Linnell: Though it’s wonderful that you have not gotten the flu thus far, it doesn’t mean you won’t get the flu in the future. The best way to protect yourself and your children from the flu is to see your pediatrician or primary care provider to get your annual flu vaccines.
“The flu is no joke” -Dr. Marjan Abedi Linnell
TxMD: The only time I have gotten sick was the year I got the flu vaccine; I think I got the flu from the flu shot.
Dr. Marjan Abedi Linnell: The flu shot is made from particles of the influenza virus, broken down into smaller pieces to help your immune system recognize it and learn to fight it. However, since it is broken down you cannot get the flu from the flu shot. As with any vaccine, it is possible that you will feel a little bit under the weather after a vaccine or have a low-grade fever, which can actually be a good sign that your body is responding to and learning from the vaccine.
TxMD: What’s the big deal about getting the flu anyways? It’s just like a bad cold.
Dr. Marjan Abedi Linnell: In the 2014-2015 influenza season, a total of 141 laboratory-confirmed, flu-associated pediatric deaths were reported in the US. The flu can lead to significant complications, including pneumonias, dehydration, and significant worsening of underlying medical problems like heart disease, asthma and other lung diseases, and diabetes. The flu is no joke.
Help protect yourself and your family this flu season by getting your annual flu shot. Be sure to check with your provider to see if you are in the small minority of patients that need special consideration prior to a flu shot.
For more information visit www.communicaresa.org and call 210.233.7000. CommuniCare is located at 3066 East Commerce Street in San Antonio, TX 78220.