Doctors Talk About Common Misconceptions Regarding Flu Shots

Lynchburg, VA - A lot of people are skeptical about getting the flu shot. In fact, many of our viewers have voiced their concerns on ABC 13's Facebook page.

Since it's flu season, we decided to speak to local physicians to clear up some of these misconceptions. They all say getting a flu shot is a no-brainer.

Dr. Thomas Eppes says his office at Central Virginia Family Physicians constantly deals with people who have wrong information about vaccines.

Here are some of the common misconceptions out there:

"The flu shot can actually give me the flu."

Dr. Eppes says that's not true.

"The shot itself is much safer than the illness. Most people have not had the perspective of seeing the illness that we're preventing," said Dr. Eppes.

"If I'm a healthy person, I don't need to get the vaccine."

Eppes says that's another myth. He says everyone 6 months and older should get it.

"In particular, the very young...the people that have some type of immuno-compromising disease--that means there's something that weakens the body's immunity--and everybody 65 and above," said Dr. Eppes.

"I got the flu vaccine last year, so I don't need to get another one."

Eppes says you should get the shot every year.

"The flu bug changes every year, so you have to change the vaccine every year."

The bottom line is this: Doctors say there is no reason to NOT get the flu shot.

"The more people that get the flu vaccine, the harder it is for the virus to spread, and therefore you don't see waves of people being sick," said Dr. Eppes.

Dr. Eppes does say the flu shot is not perfect, but it's been proven time and time again to reduce the number of illnesses among the population.

The Virginia Department of Health is offering Flumist, a nasal mist vaccine against the flu virus to children across the state. According to the CDC, this nasal spray appears to be most effective in children, and it's a great alternative for people who don't like needles.

You can also learn more about the flu on the CDC website.