(NC) If you want to beat the bug, you have to know all the facts. Influenza, also known as the flu, is a viral infection of the nose, throat, and lungs. It’s a major public health concern with an average of around 12,000 Canadians becoming hospitalized and approximately 3,500 dying due to influenza-related complications each year. The good news is there are preventative measures that you can take to help keep you and your loved ones protected throughout the year.

The best defense against the flu is getting the flu shot, but many Canadians still have misconceptions about influenza. Here are four flu myths, busted.

1. Myth: I have never had influenza, so I don’t need to get a flu shot.

Fact: Flu viruses are constantly changing and anyone is vulnerable to getting the flu. The best defense is getting the influenza vaccine every year.

2. Myth: Influenza vaccines can give you the flu.

Fact: No — the ingredients of the inactivated flu shot do not contain the live virus, so it is impossible to get influenza from an inactivated flu shot.

3. Myth: The flu causes mild discomfort and will not result in any long term impact.

Fact: While influenza seasons can vary in severity, during most seasons, older adults most often have to bear the greatest burden of severe influenza disease. Seniors are especially vulnerable to more serious risks including the potential for significant decline in independence and mobility. Influenza vaccination is recommended by the National Advisory Committee for Immunization for all individuals aged six months and older, especially those who are at high risk of influenza-related complications or hospitalization, including adults 65 years of age and older.

4. Myth: All flu vaccines work the same for everyone.

Fact: There is a new high-dose flu vaccine specifically designed for seniors. This vaccine, contains a higher amount of antigens and has been shown to provide a better immune response and improved protection against influenza than regular flu vaccines in adults 65 years of age and older. This vaccine is only available to seniors if they pay for it as the cost of the vaccine is not yet covered by the provinces. Talk to your healthcare provider to see if this vaccine is right for you.

Find more information and ways to help ensure this new flu vaccine developed for seniors is publicly funded at www.CARP.ca.