January is the height of flu season, and if you haven’t been vaccinated, it’s not too late to do so.
Influenza or “the flu,” as it more commonly known. This respiratory virus that can be fatal and causes severe symptoms including high fever, shaking chills, headache, body aches, cough, and tiredness. If you haven’t ever contracted it, consider yourself lucky.
Here are five flu myths you might have heard about the flu that we will clear up for you.
Myth: You can catch the flu from the vaccine
Fact: This is false
The vaccine contains a dead virus and cannot transmit infection. If you get sick around the time you got it, you were probably already going to get sick from exposure to the virus by an infected person. In addition, it takes about two weeks for your body to build up the antibodies needed to fight the flu.
Myth: Vomiting and diarrhea are symptoms of Influenza.
Fact: Influenza is strictly a respiratory illness.
Stomach flu or gastroenteritis is a completely different and separate virus. With stomach flu, you would experience vomiting and/or diarrhea in addition to stomach pain.
Myth:The vaccine is the only ammunition you need to fight the flu.
Fact: In addition to the vaccine, you should wash your hands frequently, cough into your elbow, and drink lots of fluids.
Also, as with any illness, you will want to disinfect your surfaces such as phones, doorknobs, light switches, and remotes, as the germs can stay alive for up to 72 hours.
Myth: Young, healthy individuals cannot catch the flu.
Fact: Young and healthy individuals can catch the flu.
This group has a greater ability to fight complications of the flu, but it can still have an impact. The 2014 flu season was particularly hard on this group of individuals. Then, 61% of those hospitalized with influenza-like illnesses were adults aged 18-64. In addition to reducing complications brought on by the flu, patients who are vaccinated also reduce the likelihood of transmission of the virus.
Myth: The flu vaccine causes Bell’s palsy.
Fact: No evidence has been found to support this.
One study from the Institute of Medicine reports that vaccines cause very few health problems. “The findings should be reassuring to parents that few health problems are clearly connected to immunizations, and these effects occur relatively rarely. The flu vaccine does not aggravate asthma, and the flu vaccine doesn’t cause Bell’s palsy,” explains Ellen Wright Clayton, MD, JD, director of the Center for Biomedical Ethics and Society at Vanderbilt University.
Everyone, male or female, young or old, healthy or sick, will benefit from receiving a flu vaccine. Get yours today!