Debunking Flu Shot Myths: The shot won’t make you sick & it won’t prevent the stomach flu

Today, flu shot clinics opened at various locations across Alberta with the goal of vaccinating as many Albertans against a virus known as Influenza – A list of the locations can be found HERE.

Last flu season alone, more than 1,600 people were hospitalized and 62 people died in Alberta as a result of influenza.

All our doctors recommend getting a flu shot as soon as possible at a clinic, pharmacy or the nearest Pinnacle Medical Centre. The reason, the flu shot is the No. 1 way to prevent contracting influenza this cold and flu season.

“One common excuse I hear all the time as a reason not to get a flu shot is that a patient has received a flu shot in the past and still got sick,” Says Dr. Ankit Vakil,from Pinnacle Medical Centres Crowfoot location.

“The fact is, the flu shot does not contain a living virus so the vaccine will not make you sick.”

What may happen on occasion is, while the flu shot is busy helping your body is create antibodies to fight influenza, it is possible to come in contact with influenza and get sick.

Since it takes 7-to-10 days to build up your antibodies, a person may catch influenza before building up immunity to the virus, thus leading that person to believe the flu shot gave them influenza.

Another myth about the flu shot is that it will protect you against the stomach flu.

The reality is influenza and the stomach flu are two different illnesses.

Stomach Flu vs Influenza

The stomach flu attacks your digestive system causing symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, stomach cramps, aches and pains and more.

Generally, a person will catch the stomach flu (or food poisoning) from eating food that contains bacteria and stomach flu will usually pass in 3-to-5 days.

Influenza on the other hand attacks your respiratory system causing symptoms such as coughing, sore throat, congestion, aches and pains, fever and more.

Generally, people catch influenza by being around a person who has the virus or coming in contact with a surface that a person who has the virus has touched. The influenza virus can live on surfaces for up to 48 hours.

Once a person catches influenza they are usually sick for 7-to-10 days.

Ways to Prevent Catching the Flu

  • Avoid sick people whenever you can – And if you’re sick, stay home
  • Wash your hands often
  • Carry and use a pocket hand sanitizer
  • Get at least 7 hours of sleep each night
  • Eat healthy – Make sure to eat fruit and vegtables
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth

If you’re feeling ill and suspect influenza, please stay home to prevent the spread of the virus. If you don’t start to feel better in a few days please visit your family doctor.

Don’t have a family doctor?

Pinnacle Medical Centres’ offer short wait times for walk-in patients to see a family doctor in Calgary, a family doctor in Strathmore, a family doctor in High River and a family doctor in Okotoks.

Most of our locations are also accepting new patients, including our:

  • Crowfoot Location
  • Okotoks Location
  • Strathmore location
  • Beddington Location
  • High River Location