Local nurse’s doubts changed about flu shot; says there’s a lot of misinformation

The flu vaccination prevented an estimated 7.1 million people from getting sick from 2017 through 2018 according to the CDC. However, many people still don’t believe the vaccine actually works because of the symptoms it can cause.

“I used to be a skeptic,” said Carrie Apuan, a nurse at Mayo Clinic Health System. “The first couple of years I got the flu shot, I developed some symptoms.”

Dr. Ala Dababneh said people cannot get the flu from the flu shot.

“There’s nothing wrong with questioning the flu shot, but there is an overwhelming body of evidence that supports it,” Dababneh said.

He said these symptoms are actually caused by when your immune system activates.

“They’re fairly minor,” Dababneh said.

He said the symptoms are actually a good thing.

“You kind of know that it’s working,” he said.

There are consequences for those who don’t get the shot.

“When we didn’t get our flu shot, we got really sick,” Apuan said. “I had a fever of 104 degrees. My children had fevers of 106 degrees. ​​​​I was nervous. There is no doubt. Having that high of a fever is very scary.”

Apuan is a single mother and had to juggle her own health along with taking care of her children. She ended up missing three weeks of work.

“Subsequently, I developed pneumonia as a result,” she said.

That time flipped her perspective of the flu shot completely.

She said getting the flu shot can help infants who can’t have the flu shot or people who are allergic to shot from getting sick.

“You are actually helping those people from getting sick, as well,” she said.

To Apuan, the flu is no laughing matter.

“It puts people in a state where they can die,” she said.

It’s a lesson she had to learn the hard way.

“Think about the three weeks of time you lose when you are sick,” Apuan said. “You can definitely make the time. It’s worth it.”

Apuan said she has not had any symptoms or the flu the past few years and neither have her children after getting the flu shot. For more information about the flu vaccine visit cdc.gov/flu

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