The Roundup -

Flu Myths…Busted!


September 27, 2017 | View PDF

There are so many myths about the flu and the flu shot all over the internet, so in preparation for the Mass Flu Shot Clinic at the Richland County Health Department on October 5th, we’ve busted a few myths wide open.

If your neighbor says he had a touch of the flu and couldn’t leave the bathroom, you’ve heard firsthand one of the big myths about the flu. The flu is actually caused by the influenza virus, and is a contagious respiratory illness, not a stomach virus. Symptoms include sudden onset of cough, chest discomfort, fever, chills, and body aches. The real flu can actually lead to death, and is especially risky for those who already suffer from respiratory conditions like asthma or COPD, or those with compromised immune systems, such as those undergoing cancer treatment or the elderly. Last flu season, there were 7935 positive cases of influenza in Montana, with 829 people hospitalized and 56 deaths.

If the same neighbor said his flu shot last year made him sick, he’s really lacking in his influenza education. The flu shot vaccine does not contain any live virus, so it actually can’t make you sick with the flu. The vaccine contains inactivated virus, which means that once it’s in your body, your immune system can learn to respond to components of the virus, so that if you do come across the real flu virus, your body will be prepared. Because vaccines are designed to evoke an immune response, it is common to have injection site soreness or a slight fever, but these symptoms shouldn’t last long. The Vaccine Information Sheet, offered either at the beginning or the end of your vaccination clinic visit, explains potential risks and reactions.

If you’re considering skipping the flu shot this year because you exercise and eat healthy, reconsider your decision. The flu virus doesn’t discriminate, and even healthy people can become infected. The flu virus can be spread when a sick person sneezes, coughs or talks, or spread by surfaces shared by both sick and health people, like doorknobs in public, bathroom faucet handles, and shopping carts. You may lose income due to days off from work, or may face more serious consequences of the flu, such as hospitalization and death.

There are many reasons to get your flu shot this flu season. If you have questions or need help with the decision to get you and your family vaccinated again the flu, contact the Health Department at 406-433-2207.

Flu shots are available for those 6 months and older at the Richland County Health Department during normal clinic hours, and at the Mass Flu Shot Clinic on Thursday, October 5th, from 10AM to 6PM. Private insurance, Medicare and Medicaid will be billed for those who bring their insurance cards. No appointment is needed for the Mass Flu Shot Clinic on October 5th. Clinic paperwork is available on the day of the clinic, or can be downloaded at or on Facebook at


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