At Greenville Health System, we’re taking this opportunity as we near April Fool’s Day to debunk some misconceptions about health science that you may have heard. Read on and beef up your knowledge of what’s true and what’s not when it comes to health.
- The flu shot can give you the flu.
Fact: The flu shot is not a live virus, so it’s biologically impossible for you to catch the flu from the vaccine. Keep in mind, though, that it takes a week or two after receiving the shot for the protection to kick in. If you get the flu during this time, you were going to get sick anyway.
- If I’m eating salad, I’m eating healthy.
Fact: Not all salads are healthy. Depending on what’s in the salad, how big it is, and the type and amount of dressing used, salads can have as many as 1,000 calories. That’s as many as two Big Macs from McDonald’s! Adding cheese, bacon and creamy dressings to any salad will make the calories add up quickly! To ensure your salad isn’t sabotaging your healthy eating choices, load up on veggies like cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers and carrots, and choose small amounts of low-calorie and low-fat dressing.
- The HPV vaccine wasn’t properly tested and hasn’t been proven to prevent HPV-related cancers.
Fact: In order for a vaccine to be made available for use in the U.S., the law requires years of testing to ensure the safety of the vaccine. The process can sometimes take as long as 10 years. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration only licenses a vaccine if it is safe, effective and the benefits outweigh the risks. Once a vaccine is in use, it continues to be monitored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the FDA.
Clinical trials showed that HPV vaccines provided close to 100 percent protection against cervical precancers and genital warts, according to the CDC. The agency also reports that since the vaccine was recommended in 2006, there has been a 64 percent reduction in HPV infections among teen girls in the U.S.