It's that time of year - Flu Season!! yikes. The time of year when you hold your breath after you walk past someone who sneezes, sanitize your hands immediately after meeting someone new and avoid those friends who are feeling "under the weather" like the plague. I'm not the only one who does those things, am I!? Okay, so that might be a little dramatic, but, with so many 'flu-facts' floating around, can we actually believe?
Thanks to Huffpost Healthy Living we can separate some of the fact from the fiction:
Myth #1: The Flu Shot Can Give You The Flu - The flue shot vaccine is made from a dead or inactive virus that can no longer spread its fever-spiking properties. In rare cases, a person may experience a reaction to the shot that includes a low-grade fever, but these reactions are not The Flu, Everyday Health reported. I'm not telling you all to run out and get the flu shot - that's a separate argument completely, but rest assured that you will NOT get the sniffles because you got the shot.
Myth #2: If You Get The Flu Shot You Won't Get The Flu - Unfortunately, that's not true. According to the CDC the shot only reduces your risk by 60%. Some people may be exposed to the flu in the two weeks it takes for the vaccine to take effect, reports NPR. Others might be exposed to a strain not covered in the vaccine, which is made each year based on the viruses experts predict will be the most common, according to Flu.gov.
Myth #3: Antibiotics Can Fight The Flu - Antibiotics fight bacteria, not viruses. The flu -- and colds, for that matter -- are caused by viruses. In fact, antibiotics kill off the "good" bacteria that help to fight off infections, so that viral flu may only get worse. So, if you're one of those unfortunate infected souls, hunker down with Vicks vapor rub, tissues and tea, but save yourself the trip to get antibiotics.
Myth #4: The Stomach Flu Is A Kind Of Influenza - Nausea, vomiting or diarrhea, while often dubbed the "stomach flu," are not typically symptoms of seasonal influenza, which, first and foremost, is a respiratory disease, according to Flu.gov.
Myth #5: If You're Young And Healthy You Don't Need The Shot - The young and healthy will more often than not recover just fine from the flu, with or without the shot. But protecting yourself even if you don't think you need protecting can actually be beneficial to the public at large. The more people vaccinated, the fewer cases of flu we pass around, which in turn offers greater protection to those at-risk groups (pregnant women, adults over 65 and those with chronic health conditions).
Myth #6: You Can Get The Flu From Being Out In The Cold Without A Coat Or With Wet Hair - You heard it here, mom totally pulled one over on you. The only way to catch the flue is to come into contact with the virus that causes it. That might happen while you are outside in the cold, and flu season does certainly happen during cold weather, but it's not because you're cold that you catch the bug…although traipsing outside into freezing temperatures with a wet head doesn't sound like a super smart idea to begin with.
Myth #7: There's No Treatment For The Flu - While the two antiviral drugs available to fight the flu aren't a quick fix, they can reduce the length of your flu and make you less contagious, according to WebMD. This year's earlier-than-usual flu season has already led to shortages of one of the drugs, Tamiflu, in the children's liquid formulation, according to the medication's manufacturers.
Typically, flu season in the U.S. is worst in January and February, however, the beginnings of the virus start to appear as early as October (we're in the throws people! take preventative measures). Symptoms include: sneezing, sore throat, fever and general snottyness. The above chart is an illustration of what happens in your body when you have the flu, according to Gregory A. Poland, M.D., a professor of medicine and expert in vaccines and infectious disease at the Mayo Clinic, and John J. Treanor, M.D., chief of infectious diseases at the University of Rochester Medical Center.