Ian Roth: Influenza myth No. 1: The flu is like a cold. It will make you feel awful, but it isn't really harmful. Fact.
Gregory Poland, M.D.: Well, in the U.S. alone, last year 80,000 Americans died from influenza and its complications, and almost a million were hospitalized.
Ian Roth: The complications are the really dangerous part. Dr. Gregory Poland says influenza commonly leads to deadly pneumonia, meningitis, heart attacks, and complications for people with diabetes.
Ian Roth: Myth No. 2: I always get the flu from the flu shot. Fact.
Dr. Poland: It is impossible to get influenza from the vaccine.
Ian Roth: Dr. Poland says it's not uncommon for people to coincidentally get an upper respiratory infection in the weeks after getting a flu shot and assume it's connected. But he says studies have proven your odds of getting that minor upper respiratory infection from other viruses are identical whether you get the flu shot or not, so you might as well protect yourself from the more serious influenza.
Ian Roth: And myth No. 3: Science still doesn't know enough about vaccines to know if they're safe. Fact.
Ian Roth: Dr. Poland says vaccines are among the safest and most studied areas of modern medicine. In fact, it takes more study and research to get a vaccine approved than it does for an over-the-counter headache medicine like acetaminophen or ibuprofen. For the Mayo clinic News Network, I'm Ian Roth.