Health

Can You Get the Flu From The Flu Shot?

by Rachael Ray Show Staff 3:00 AM, July 19, 2018

Aired July 19, 2018

Naturally, everyone fears getting the flu -- especially considering how serious outbreaks have been -- and believe it or not, many people fear getting the flu from the flu shot.

So, is that actually possible, considering that the shot is supposed to ward off the flu?!

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One of our studio audience members Karen was wondering the same thing -- so we called in pharmacist Dr. Stacia Woodcock!

Q: In the past, I’ve always gotten a flu shot, but sometimes, it hasn’t made me feel so well. And it kind of freaks me out that you hear that the flu shot can actually give you the flu. Is that true? - Karen

A: I always say, it’s like hamburger. It’s like taking [a] hamburger and saying it can ‘moo’ and eat grass. It can’t. It’s not alive. The way the flu shot works is they basically predict what strains are going to be circulating each given year. It’s a prediction. They do their best guess. They’re not always right. Sometimes it's a lower accuracy than others. But it always activates your immune system and makes you more able to fight off the flu more ready. So even if you do get the flu, it won’t last as long [and] you won't get as sick if you have that immunity build-up in your system. So when people say, "The flu shot gave me the flu," you're talking about those couple days after you get the shot, you’re feeling kind of achy, you may have a low fever, and you’re like "Oh, I got the flu." That’s actually just your body’s immune system responding the way it's supposed to to the flu shot. It's building that immunity so when the flu actually does hit, it can fight it off. And that’s why you don’t feel well. But it’s not the flu. - Dr. Stacia Woodcock

So, there you have it!

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"I feel very strongly," the pharmacist says. "Everyone needs to get a flu shot."

With that said, have a conversation with your doctor to make the best decision for you!