When flu season rolls around, we try everything in our power to prevent it from getting sick. However, some of these rumored recommendations on how to stop it in its tracks can harm our health more than protect it — separate fact from fiction this season to stay healthy and flu-free.
Myth #1: The Flu Shot Will Give You The Flu
Many patients avoid getting the flu shot once they hear that the vaccine contains strains on the influenza virus. While this is true, the strains of influenza inside the shot are either inactivated (no longer infectious), or a substrate created to mimic the flu. Either way, the shot cannot give you influenza.
Myth #2: It’s Too Late to Get a Flu Shot
Typically, flu season enters its peak months between October and December. You should indeed get your flu shot sooner, rather than later, so you can stay protected through the entire season. In past years, the flu virus has hung around until late March.
Most insurance companies will cover your flu shot as a preventative service, and even if it isn’t, you can still get one at an affordable price.
Myth #3: Only Older People Need a Flu Shot
The flu doesn’t have an age limit, and it can be life-threatening for babies, older adults, and individuals with weaker immune systems or chronic illnesses.
Additionally, if you’ve gotten the flu shot in years past, they won’t necessarily protect you this year. New strands of the flu are discovered each year, which is why the CDC recommends every person over the age of 6 months should get a flu shot each year.
Myth #4: The Flu is Just as Serious as the Common Cold
The flu can present more severe symptoms and risks than an ordinary cold can. While you may experience symptoms associated with the common cold (such as a sore throat, runny nose, and cough), you are at a higher risk of falling seriously ill. More than 200,000 people are hospitalized each year due to influenza.
Myth #5: You Can Catch the Flu From Going Out in Cold Weather
Just as people assume the flu is no worse than a common cold, many don’t realize that the flu is a virus. Therefore, the only way to contact the flu is by being exposed to the influenza virus. A cold, drafty environment will not give you the flu unless you come in contact with a person inside that environment that has the flu!
Myth #6: You Can Treat the Flu With Antibiotics
As mentioned earlier, the flu is a virus, and therefore cannot be treated with antibiotics, which work against bacteria. In some cases, patients have to experience bacterial infections as a complication of the flu, but only in these cases would an antibiotic be prescribed.
The best way to protect yourself and your loved ones from the flu this year is by getting your flu shot. Stop by Urgentology Care today to receive your shot and stay protected against this year’s influenza virus. We offer free flu shots with in-network insurance or $35 with self-pay.