5 Myths & Misconceptions of the Flu Shot

The height of flu season is just around the corner, and health professionals are urging patients to take action now to avoid getting sick later. Despite warnings that influenza can cause serious illness or death, particularly in the very young or very old, fewer than 50 percent of U.S. patients receive the vaccine each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The truth is that the flu shot is your best protection against getting sick. Here’s why you shouldn’t let these falsehoods lead you astray:

Misconception 1: The Flu Shot Gives You the Flu

This is absolutely not true. The flu shot does not give you the flu. The flu vaccine is made with an inactive virus or no virus at all. The most common side effects of the flu shot are soreness, redness, tenderness or swelling where the shot was given. This is typically caused by the body’s immune response reacting to a foreign substance entering the body.

Some people do get a low-grade fever, a headache and some muscle aches, but those symptoms last only about one to two days and are much milder than the actual flu.

If you do get sick with the flu shortly after getting vaccinated, you were exposed to the virus before getting the shot.

Misconception 2: It’s Better to Get the Flu than the Flu Shot

Getting the flu shot is always the safer choice than getting sick with the flu virus. The flu can be a really serious illness that can lead to a hospital stay or even death, especially for young children, older adults and people with chronic health conditions like asthma, heart disease or diabetes.

Misconception 3: I Don’t Need the Flu Shot Every Year

If the virus the flu shot protects against hasn’t changed from the previous season, you don’t need to get another flu shot, right? Wrong! Your immunity after vaccination declines over time, so the CDC recommends getting vaccinated every year to make sure you stay protected against the flu.

Misconception 4: The Flu Shot Doesn’t Work

You hear it all the time: someone you know got the flu shot and still got the flu. If the flu shot doesn’t work, why should you get vaccinated? Here’s why:

  • They didn’t actually have the flu. Other respiratory illnesses, such as the common cold, cause symptoms similar to the flu, so they just thought they had the flu.
  • They were exposed to the flu right before getting the flu shot, so they were already sick.
  • They caught a strain of the flu virus that was very different from the virus the vaccine was designed to protect against.
  • While the vaccine typically reduces the risk of illness by 40 to 60 percent, some people who get vaccinated still get sick.

Misconception 5: The Flu Shot Could Give You a Cold

Only one study has suggested that getting the flu shot might make you susceptible to catching other respiratory illnesses. Many experts tried to replicate the results of that study but have not been able to do so. At present, there just isn’t enough evidence to suggest the flu shot makes you more susceptible to catching other respiratory illnesses.

Protect Yourself and Others

The flu is a contagious illness that might not be too serious for you – just pretty miserable for a few days – but could be pretty serious for someone you come in contact with, like a small child at the grocery store or an elderly person in the elevator. Don’t spread the flu; head to Quality First Urgent Care for your FREE flu shot today!

5 Things You Should Know About Tick Bites

The Spring & Summer months are the time of year when the most tick bites occur. In fact, according to the CDC, Maryland is one of the hardest hit states for ailments spread by bugs.

According to the CDC report, 48,000 tick-borne diseases were reported in 2016 and Lyme disease accounted for 82 percent of all tick-borne diseases between 2004 and 2016. The CDC has reported that the nation needs to be better prepared to face this public health threat.

Ticks often lay in areas of grass or brush and are attracted most to humans and our pets. Many times, ticks can be passed from our pets to us without us knowing.

Some tick bites can be harmless and many of us will never know they even happened. However, other bites can cause allergic reactions, illness, and muscular pain.

Below are a few particular things you should know about ticks so that you and your family can stay happy & healthy this summer.

Where to check for ticks

Ticks prefer the warm moist areas of the body due to the ample blood supply in those areas. If you, or your child, have been playing in a wooded or brushy area, make sure to check the armpits, legs, neck and hair for signs of a tick bite, as these are the areas where ticks are most commonly found.

Also, using a magnifying glass may come in handy when checking for ticks as they can range from the size of a pinhead to the size of a pencil eraser.

Some tick bites have no symptoms at all

Depending upon the species of the tick, the symptoms of a tick bite can vary. Many of the most common species found in the Maryland area do not transmit disease or pathogens and therefore there may be no physical symptoms.

In some instances, the tick will fall off the body after several days and leave no signs.

Removing the tick immediately will minimize the chance of disease

Because some species of tick can transmit disease or pathogens, immediately removing the tick can minimize the chance of illness.

In fact, if the tick is removed within the first 36 hours the chances the transmission of illnesses, such as Lyme Disease, is only about 1.4%.

How to remove a tick

Once a tick has been identified on the skin, the proper approach to removing it is extremely important. This can be done by using tick removal tools that can be found in most pharmacies, or by using tweezers.

  1. Make sure to use gloves to minimize the spread of bacteria or pathogens.
  2. Grasp the tick firmly as close to the skin as possible. Do not apply too much pressure or the tick can be crushed.
  3. Use a gentle upward motion to remove the tick from the skin. Do not twist or turn the tick as this may cause pieces of the tick to break off and remain in the skin, which can lead to infection.
  4. Place the tick into a sealed bag or jar in case it needs to be identified later by a physician. By being able to identify the tick, physicians are more able to identify the possible illnesses passed into your or your child.
  5. Swab the area with rubbing alcohol to remove any remaining bacteria.

Symptoms of an allergic reaction

Symptoms of illness or infection are not always immediate, so it is important to monitor for signs and symptoms in the days and weeks following a tick bite. It is important to seek medical attention if you notice any of these symptoms following a tick bite:

  • A red bull’s-eye in the area surrounding the bite.
  • Any new rash, even away from the tick bite site, in the period of over several weeks following a known tick bite or a possible tick exposure. In many cases of Lyme disease have no positive tick bite recalled by the patient.
  • Redness or irritation surrounding the bite
  • Flu like symptoms
  • Headache or nausea
  • Fever or chills
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Joint pain or swelling
  • Facial paralysis

At Quality First Urgent Care, our team of highly skilled providers can diagnose forms of tick born infection and provide medication or any treatments needed. If you suspect a tick bite or tick borne illness, walk-in or schedule an appointment HERE.