Health Blog

The Whole Truth About the Flu & the Flu Vaccine

With so many myths about Influenza (Flu) and the flu vaccine; this is a good time to set the record straight so you can make the best decision to protect yourself, your family, and your community against Flu.

What is the Flu and what is it not?

Influenza is a respiratory illness caused by a virus. It has symptoms like cough, congestion, fever, headache, and body aches which can last up to two weeks. These can be much worse than common cold symptoms. Influenza is not a stomach or intestinal illness even though people often call vomiting and diarrhea “the flu”. Influenza can make some people (especially children) feel sick to their stomach, but this is rarely the main symptom.

Flu shots won’t give you the Flu.

Many worry about getting the flu shot because of side effects, stories of getting ill afterward, or because “I don’t get sick”. Most people who get the flu shot have a sore arm and maybe a low fever for one to two days. The flu vaccine is made with weakened or inactivated (killed) influenza virus which helps your body build up antibodies against the flu but does not give you the flu. It can take up to two weeks to offer protection and you can catch the flu or another respiratory illness during that time. Getting vaccinated as soon as vaccines are available gives you a head start on being protected.

Flu shots really do work (and help keep people healthy!).

No vaccine is 100% effective. A person who does not get the flu shot and catches the flu is often much sicker than someone who had the shot but still caught the flu. Those who say “I don’t get sick” or “my body will fight it” should consider protecting not only himself or herself, but also their families and those at higher risk (anyone young, elderly, pregnant, or with a compromised immune system- like those fighting cancer). We all live in communities and have families. Though you may not get sick, you can still pass the virus on to others. Every person that gets the flu shot has the chance to save a life.

Protect yourself, get your Flu shot.

Healthcare costs are so high these days, and many of us struggle day-to-day. People may have no insurance, limited money, or find it hard to pay for necessary medications and food. One small thing we can do to help prevent these issues is get vaccinated. Getting the flu shot helps keep us all healthy, limits missed work days and lowers healthcare costs. No matter your financial situation, you can receive most vaccinations at little to no cost. Doing so helps you, us, our community, and our world.

Now, go and get your Flu shot!

  • Current patients: Call your health center directly to schedule an appointment.
  • New patients: Call central registration at 616.965.8308 to schedule an appointment.
  • Walk-ins are also welcome at Heart of the City Pharmacy.







Chelsey Davis, Medical Assistant at Eaton Community Health Center
Cassie Pederson, Medical Assistant at Barry Community Health Center