Letters to the Editor

Debunking assumptions about the flu vaccine

Amid an aggressive flu season in Iowa, knowledge is critical for preventing the flu. Understanding fact versus fiction about the flu season can help Iowans protect themselves.

It’s too late to get the flu shot. — FALSE.

Flu season can stretch from October to May, and it only takes your body a short time to build up antibodies. According to the Walgreens Flu Index, Iowa has recently been among the top 10 states for flu activity. Getting a flu shot still is the most effective way to prevent the flu.

You need to get a flu shot every year. — TRUE.

Each year, the flu shot is tweaked based on new strains. Immunization allows your body to create new antibodies to protect from the ever-changing and unpredictable flu.

Only the elderly and children get the flu. — FALSE.

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), 60 percent of reported flu hospitalizations in 2013-2014 were between the ages of 18 and 64. The flu doesn’t discriminate, which is why it’s so important to stay protected.

Getting the flu shot helps the immunity of others. — TRUE.

This concept is called “herd immunity.” If the majority of people are protected from the flu, less people are sick; therefore, those who may not be eligible to receive the flu shot aren’t directly exposed to the illness, lessening the chances of getting the flu.

You can be proactive in your fight against the flu. Schedule your flu shot today to help protect yourself against influenza.

Lisa Kriegel

Pharmacist

Cedar Rapids

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