One emergency room nurse has had enough of the flu shot debate, so she recently took to Facebook to drop some major knowledge about the vaccine. And boy, did she have a lot to say. So if you're frustrated about all of the anti-vaxx information floating around the internet (there's a lot, unfortunately), please take a moment to read this nurse's viral flu shot post, as it shuts down some common myths surrounding this important vaccine.
Texas-based nurse Beth Purkey took to Facebook on Oct. 9 to discuss the myths surrounding the flu vaccine, warning patients to get their medical advice from doctors and not from social media. (I love her already, folks.)
Her first and probably most important point debunks the myth that you can catch the flu from the shot. "You cannot get the flu from the flu vaccine. Ever. No matter what anyone’s told you," she penned. "You CAN get an immune response such as low grade fever, mild inflammation, or local redness and swelling."
She continued, "This is GOOD. It means your body is fighting the inactivated virus it’s been exposed to and it will build immune cells specific to fighting that virus if it ever sees it again, hence the entire premise behind getting vaccinated."
She goes on to say that if you do get the flu within a week or two of being vaccinated, it's probably just "crappy timing" as you were probably exposed to the virus before being vaccinated. Same goes for getting stomach flu like symptoms, yet another illness some attribute to the flu vaccine.
Her second point revolves around the myth that vaccines can cause other diseases within the body, which Purkey says is just not true, using a very vivid (and understandable) explanation involving an avocado. Really, it works.
"The vaccine does NOT cause strokes, auto-immune diseases, or severe allergic reactions," she wrote. "There is a very small percentage of people who’s bodies do not react normally and therefore those people should not receive the vaccine."
"Let me put it this way; I swell up like Violet in the Willy Wonka factory if I eat avocado. I think we can all agree that avocados aren’t dangerous, my body is the problem, not the food. Likewise, the vaccine is safe but like all things (even avocados) it can be dangerous for certain people."
Additionally, she reminds people that the flu shot isn't all about them — it's also about protecting other people.
"When healthy people vaccinate, we protect the newborns and the grandparents and the chemo patients and the ones who truly cannot receive the vaccine," she explained. It’s called herd immunity, and it’s the cornerstone of a healthy society."
And for those who think that nurses and doctors are paid off by the drug companies to promote the flu vaccine? Purkey made it explicitly clear why she believes in the life-saving vaccine and it has nothing to do with money.
"I advocate for vaccines because I’ve held a newborn with fever while the doctor does a lumbar puncture. Because I’ve put a grandfather on a ventilator who couldn’t breathe and because I’ve put the final drape over a mother of 3’s face after she beat breast cancer but died of the flu," Purkey says at the end of her post. "I did all of this knowing full well that it was preventable. We had the ability to save those people as a society and we failed because of the Lindseys in this world that prey on people’s poor understanding and fear."
These are all valid points and should be taken to heart considering they're coming from a certified medical professional, aka the only person you should take medical advice from. And if you have any lingering questions about the flu shot, don't hesitate to reach out to a trusted doctor or nurse.