Can the flu jab give you the flu?
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This is the start of the flu season when people start coming into my surgery with a 'touch of flu'. The trouble is there's no such thing.
There are hundreds of viral infections which cause milder flu-like symptoms but if you want to know if you have real flu, ask yourself one question: Do I think I'm dying? If the answer is no - you don't have flu, you simply have a nasty cold.
The fact that so many people confuse the flu for a cold and vice versa, is important when it comes to the flu jab.
Lots of people who need the flu jab are wary about getting it. They tell me that in the past the flu jab has given them the flu - but actually that's impossible!
The flu jab is not a live vaccine so it couldn't infect you with the flu virus. Fact is, we give the flu vaccine every year at just the same time people are starting to come down with colds.
They have the flu jab, get nasty cold symptoms a couple of days later and blame it on the vaccine. But truth is the flu jab could actually save their lives.
For most of us, flu is thoroughly miserable but not life-threatening. Common symptoms include:
Dry, harsh cough
Weakness and tiredness
Loss of appetite
Muscle aches and pain
If you're older or have other medical problems like heart disease, chest problems or diabetes, you're much more likely to suffer the complications of flu like pneumonia and it's these that will kill you.
If you think you might have a complication, say coughing up blood, pain in your chest when you breathe or you're short of breath, you do need to see your doctor. Otherwise a GP surgery is the last place you want to be. Why? You'll probably be waiting to be seen for hours, with the many others with similar symptoms.
And then when you do eventually see a doctor, we won't really be able to help and you'll have probably picked up another horrible set of germs from that person coughing on you, in the waiting room.
Thankfully, you'll probably get over it in a few days, that sadly doesn't apply to those with medical problems.
Without the flu jab they're taking a chance on their lives. It doesn't have to happen.
Find out the facts about immunisation and the flu jab here.
Are you wary of getting a flu jab? Why's that, then?