We are still very much in flu season. Maybe you were unlucky and got it this season, or perhaps you’re one of the lucky ones. In either case, when it comes to the flu, there is a bunch of false information floating around.
Believing some of these myths may increase your risk of illness or make a present illness even worse. So, let’s clear the air with some facts.
Common Flu Myths Debunked
All illnesses in the winter are the flu: The flu is so heavily associated with winter that it seems the moment anyone is sick, they assume it’s the flu. Many other illnesses are more common in the winter, such as the common cold and sinus infection, and if you don’t get the right diagnosis, you could be treating yourself all wrong. Cold symptoms include a sore throat, stuffy nose, and coughing. A flu is often accompanied by a fever, body aches, and significant fatigue. You won’t be able to do much with the flu.
You don’t need a flu shot if you’re healthy: Just because you’re generally healthy doesn’t mean that you won’t need a flu shot. In fact, a flu shot can better help you reduce the risk of developing the flu and help you recover quicker should you get it. Think of the flu shot as part of your healthy routine.
I had the flu before, so I don’t need the flu shot: Just because you may have already developed the flu this season doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get vaccinated. Having the flu once does not offer long-lasting immunity, mainly because there are so many strains of the flu.
The flu shot gives you the flu: There are no active components in the flu shot that would make you develop the flu. Some individuals may experience cold-like side effects as a result of the flu shot, but this is not the flu. Furthermore, you could have been exposed to the flu virus prior to vaccination.
If you’re vaccinated, you won’t get the flu: Unfortunately, the flu shot isn’t 100 percent effective, as every year, different strains of the flu circulate. Although it may help reduce your risk, it is not a complete defense mechanism.
If you get the flu, you can’t get vaccinated: Even if you already had the flu this season, you can still get vaccinated. There tends to be different strains circulating, so why not protect yourself while you still can.
Being out in the cold increases the risk of getting the flu: If you steer clear of the outdoors in the winter in fear that being cold will increase your risk of the flu, you’re heavily mistaken. A weaker immune system increases the risk of the flu, and this can happen if you’re warm or cold.
You’re only contagious within the first 48 hours: Maybe you take two days off work and head back on day three because you feel slightly better. Well, your co-workers and friends will be quite upset when they develop the flu that you’re still handing out. The rule of thumb is if you have a fever, you’re still contagious.
If you’re allergic to eggs, avoid the flu shot: There is a small amount of egg protein in the flu shot, but the CDC has deemed the flu shot safe for individuals with egg allergies. If you’re worried, talk to your doctor.
Only your doctor can administer the flu shot: If you avoid getting vaccinated because you don’t have time to wait for your doctor, you’re in luck. Many pharmacies can administer the flu shot, which means while you’re already out and about, you can drop in to get vaccinated.