I have noticed that numerous people have had a completely wrong idea regarding the flu virus, its forms of manifestation, the risk it poses for their health, and the treatments for a while now. It is easy to understand that a name like common flu can – and most of the time will – give the wrong impression.
After all, if it’s so common, how could it possibly be harmful, right? When so many people get it and emerge unscathed, what could possibly happen to me? But it’s not just about minimizing the dangers of the virus and for this issue, I hold the media responsible. Some of us consider that the cures are not only unnecessary or ineffective but also dangerous!
The reason why I consider tabloids and other publications or television networks culpable for propagating these erroneous ideas resides in the fact that their titles and articles generalize a couple of remote cases when the patients were administered counterfeit flu shots by unlicensed medical personnel. Yes, those people got sick after the shot, but it was not like they were given genuine treatments! But I digress, let’s examine the misconceptions around common influenza that I have frequently encountered over the past years.
There are numerous health hazards associated with flu shots!
In addition to the previously mentioned source of misconception, there is another reason why people still consider that the flu shot affects their health: the media scandals that have allegedly discovered the connection between the compounds of the shot and mental conditions like Guillian-Bare or autism. From the start, I want to point out the fact that there has been more research on this hypothesis than you can imagine, and guess what: none of them had any conclusive evidence to support a link!
The roots of this theory can be found almost 40 years ago, when a study indicated that there is a possibility for the vaccine most commonly used then to boost the chances of developing or aggravating the two aforementioned conditions by – wait for it – one in a million. Again, no conclusive evidence, purely statistical speculations.
Let me put it this way, the odds of developing respiratory complications caused by the common flu are considerably higher than getting either of the two diseases. But if you’re really that scared about this possibility, you should know that thimerosal is the component most frequently associated with autism and there are several types of flu vaccines that do not contain it.
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The common flu doesn’t have any serious symptoms and it’s nothing more than a nuisance
Really? Then why do all the respectable medical journals place the common flu in the 6th place of the deadliest conditions in the United States? It suffices to say that over 30,000 individuals that die each year as well as over 200,000 who spend extended periods in the hospital to debunk this myth. In all fairness, you are definitely more likely to experience severe manifestations of the condition when your immune system is functioning poorly or weakened. Therefore, the demographics that are at risk comprise of:
- Pregnant or nursing women
- Young children
- Elder individuals
- People with preexisting conditions that reduce the functionality of the immune system
Even for completely healthy adults, there is no guarantee that developing complications is not possible. Sure, it’s less likely but not completely impossible and when they do occur, you’ll feel it. So why not have a flu shot?
The vaccine can give you the flu when you are completely healthy
Right, that old thing again. This is probably the reason why most doctors grow bald, they simply don’t know how to explain to a patient that the dead strain of the virus has absolutely no chance to mysteriously come back to life and infect them. Almost no vaccine in the world contains an active form of the virus and the ones that do (nasal spray) have genetically engineered variations that present zero health risks.
The problem is that most of us learn about vaccines from uninformed sources, which continue to perpetuate the stereotype that introducing a virus into our system is an extremely dangerous thing to do, when in fact allowing the flu to run amok in our bodies is far, far worse.