By: Brooke Timpson
When it comes to the flu, what’s true and what’s not?
With a flu that has been called one of the worst in recent years, The Times talked with students to see if they know fact from fiction.
Cathy Trueman, a registered nurse at Student Heath Services helped us separate the most common beliefs from the most popular myths.
“I know lots of people who get the flu shot and still get sick,” – Olga Gedz, 31, law clerk student
“This seems to be a common belief among students, but is actually not true,” Trueman explained. “The flu shot is an inactivated vaccine, so it is not possible to get the flu from it.”
“The confusion about the relationship of getting the flu shot and getting the flu is actually more about timing,” said Trueman.
Students may associate their illness with the flu vaccine because the majority of flu shot clinics take place during the flu season when infection rates are at their highest. This means that when people get sick after or around the time they get the flu shot, it’s because they were already exposed to the virus.
“There is mercury in the shot,” –Justin Pietrantonio, 23, media management student
After consulting the list of medical and non-medical ingredients that are found in the flu shot, Trueman found no listings of mercury.
“A lot of people are exempt from the flu shot because there is egg content in it,” – Lynn Clayton, 34, practical nursing student
“The flu vaccine is actually propagated in eggs, which helps the vaccine grow,” said Trueman.
Because of this, trace amounts of protein are often left behind, which can be a problem and cause severe reactions for people with egg or protein allergies.
To avoid potential reactions, talk about any known allergies with the heath care worker before getting the vaccine.
“People don’t get the flu shot [and] don’t get the flu. It depends on your immune system,” – Rachelle Legault, 18, Practical Nursing
“The flu shot works by ‘faking’ the flu in your body,” Trueman explained. By doing this, your body is able to build antibodies to combat many strains of the virus.
In short, if you’ve received the vaccine and become exposed to components of the virus, your body will be able to recognize the flu and fight it.
Without the vaccine, your body is not able to fight flu strains that it has not already been exposed to.
If the vaccine is something you’d like to get this flu season, Health Services offers students the chance to get the flu shot every day during clinic hours.