NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The Health Department confirmed two children have died from the flu in New York City. One of them, an eight-year-old girl from Queens, passed away Monday morning.
With the flu widespread in the Tri-State Area and across the country, doctors say it’s key to get vaccinated. Strangely, a lot of people aren’t.
As CBS2’s Dr. Max Gomez reports, it may be due to a series of persistent myths surrounding the virus, many which have to do with the vaccine.
Even though the vaccine isn’t perfect, doctors say it’s still your best protection. Still, only about half the eligible population gets vaccinated in a typical year.
The most common myth thrown around is that you can get the flu from the flu vaccine. It’s a claim Dr. William Schaffner from Vanderbilt Medical Center shoots down.
“You cannot get the flu from the flu vaccine,” he said.
Dr. Schaffner, a nationally known vaccine expert, says the vaccine is made with dead or inactivated viruses, so it just can’t happen. You may feel a little arm soreness or malaise after a flu shot as your immune system responds to the vaccine, but it’s not the flu.
Another commonly held myth is that the flu shots don’t work. Again, Schaffner objects.
“The vaccine works better than most people think,” he said. “It’s not perfect, but it will keep you from getting really sick or dying of the flu.”
Some people mistakenly believe they’ll feel better with the help of antibiotics if they get the flu.
Again, that’s incorrect.
Antibiotics only work against bacteria, while the flu is caused by a virus. Thus, antibiotics provide no benefits against it. The only time antibiotics are useful is if you get a bacterial pneumonia or strep throat on top of the flu.
Some people think they don’t need a flu shot if they’re otherwise healthy. Unfortunately for them, anybody can get the flu — healthy or not. While healthy folks may be less likely to suffer serious complications from it, young people have died from the flu this season.
“While you might recover from the flu, there’s a chance you won’t recover 100 percent to full health after a bad flu,” Dr. Schaffner said.
Finally, some people say pregnant women shouldn’t get the vaccine — wrong again.
The Centers for Disease Control recommends pregnant women should definitely get vaccinated to protect themselves and their unborn child. Plus, mom’s flu antibodies will provide protection for the baby for months after birth, when they’re most vulnerable.