Home > Medical > Cold and flu infection > Overview 05 February 2013 What are the myths and facts about flu? Many misconceptions about the flu virus and vaccine persist, e.g. flu is no more serious than the common cold, you can get flu from the injectable vaccination, only the elderly are at risk from flu complications. 0 Pin It Ask CyberDoc » Test Do you need vitamin C? » Join Body Talk » Quiz Addicted to pills? » Know your symptoms Top 10 foods with vitamin C Many misconceptions about the flu virus and vaccine persist, despite the widespread impact of the disease and the benefit of vaccine.Myth: Flu is no more than a nuisance, much like common cold that cannot be prevented.Fact: Flu is a severe and sometimes life-threatening disease that causes 250 000-500 000 deaths worldwide annually. You can avoid getting it by going for a flu shot every year.Myth: You can get flu from the injectable vaccination.Fact: The injectable vaccine does not contain any live virus, so it is impossible to get flu from the vaccine. Minor side effects may occur in some people such as mild soreness, redness, swelling at the injection site, headache or a low-grade fever. Most of the side effects are due to the body’s immune response to the vaccine. In fact, these side effects are an indication that the vaccine is working. Vaccination is the best way to prevent flu and its complications.Myth: It is not necessary to be immunised against flu every year because protection is carried over from previous vaccinations.Fact: The flu virus strains circulating in the community change from year to year. Because of this, a new vaccine is made each year to protect against current strains. Vaccination is especially important if you have not had pandemic H1N1 (swine flu) yet.Myth: Only the elderly are at risk for developing serious complications from the flu virus.Fact: Influenza impacts people of all ages. Young children are at higher risk of severe infections than older children and adults, and pandemic H1N1 typically causes more severe disease in pregnant patients during any stage of pregnancy.Myth: If I missed the chance to get an influenza vaccination before the winter season, I have to wait for next year.Fact: It’s never too late to be vaccinated. The best time is before the flu season, but vaccination during the flu season is still beneficial as the virus circulates well into winter and early spring.Myth: Too many vaccinations may overload a young child’s immune system.Fact: Everyone’s immune system can respond to a vast number of proteins, such as those included in vaccines. It was estimated that an infant’s immune system can respond to 10 000 of these proteins at one time.Myth: I can get pandemic H1N1 from eating pork.Fact: To date there have been no reported cases of pandemic H1N1 infection in humans, due to the consumption of pork. As ingestion is not the normal route of infection, and the virus is readily destroyed by cooking at 70 degrees C, the chance of this occurring is negligible.(Reviewed by Dr Jane Yeats, Department of Virology, University of Cape Town 2006) More in Medical How can flu be prevented? More: Cold and flu infectionOverview advertisement Get a quote Selfmed - the one with the apple Momentum - save up to 35% on healthcare Medihelp - quality, affordable medical scheme cover advertisement Read Health24’s Comments Policy Comment on this story 0 comments Add your comment Thank you, your comment has been submitted. Logout Comment 0 characters remaining Share on Facebook Logout Comment 0 characters remaining Share on Facebook Loading comments... Other news Medical World not ready for mass flu outbreak Medical Vitamin C leads to TB breakthrough Medical China's bird flu outbreak cost $6.5 billion Lifestyle Teens are sharing more online Parenting Extreme weather threatens mental health Diet and nutrition Americans still making unhealthy choices From our sponsors There are more than 200 different viruses which can cause a cold A clinically proven skin care range is now available Medihelp’s regional information sessions Superior comfort and support Live healthier Be vitamin-smart » A-Z of vitamins What is vitamin C? Ask the expert Why we need vitamin D Even in a country with an abundance of sunlight you might have a vitamin D deficiency. Here's why. Beat acne » Stars with scars Acne tips Skincare Myths about acne Through the ages, there have been many myths about acne. We list the myths and give you the facts.