Quiz: Do You Fall For Old Flu Myths?
This myth really caught on over the years. Flu shots are made with dead viruses or without any viruses at all.Flu shots are made with dead viruses or pieces (proteins) from the flu virus. You can’t catch the flu from getting one. Your arm might hurt after the shot. You might have aches or a low fever. But you’d feel a lot worse if you caught the flu.
Here’s one of the tricky things about the flu: You can pass it to someone before you have symptoms, while you’re sick, and up to a week after you start feeling bad. Some people, especially kids and those with weakened immune systems, can be contagious even longer.
Some people get so sick that they need to go to the hospital. They can get pneumonia or even respiratory failure. The flu is most dangerous for children, people ages 65 and older, and those with other health problems. About 90% of people who die from the flu are older adults. Flu is the top cause of vaccine-preventable deaths in the United States.
People with the flu can give it to anyone within about 6 feet. (Keep that in mind the next time you’re on a bus or a train and someone is coughing and sneezing.) The flu usually spreads when a sick person coughs, sneezes, or talks. Droplets of saliva and mucus can travel to your nose or mouth. You can also get the flu by touching something like a door handle or a phone with the virus on it.
Just older adults
Getting the flu vaccine is the best way to protect yourself. Everyone 6 months and older should get it every year. It will help guard you against the 3 or 4 strains predicted to strike hard that flu season. Scientists update the vaccine each year. Talk to your doctor if you have health concerns or questions.
Using antibacterial soap
Washing hands often
Antibacterial soap or gel won’t protect you any more than plain old soap and water will — flu is not bacterial. If you wash your hands often and well, you’ll get rid of germs and viruses that stick to oil on your hands.
Mom wasn’t right about this one. Heading out with wet hair won’t raise your chances of getting the flu. (And neither will going out in the cold without a coat.)The only way you can get it is by being exposed to the virus.
The flu that’s keeping your partner in bed might not be the same one that made your aunt sick last year. That’s because flu viruses are always changing. They can vary from year to year. They can even change in the middle of a flu season.
There’s no point in asking your doctor for antibiotics. They only help with infections caused by bacteria. Antiviral drugs like oseltamivir (Tamiflu) and zanamivir (Relenza) can fight the flu virus and make you feel better faster. They work best if you take them within 2 days of getting sick, so be sure to ask your doctor about these meds ASAP if you think you have flu symptoms.
Get your flu shot as soon as the vaccine is available in the fall. It takes about 2 weeks to work, so it’s best to get it before flu season is in full swing. If you’ve put it off past November, the shot can still help protect you. Flu season is usually the worst from December through February, but it can last well past that.
A lot of stomach bugs – whether caused by bacteria, a virus, or a parasite — can make you feel queasy, throw up, and have diarrhea. Even though these same symptoms can come with the seasonal flu, especially in children, the flu is mainly an illness of the nose, throat, and lungs — not the stomach and intestine. The real flu is caused by a virus called Influenza.
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Don’t let your results bug you. Study up on the flu and take the quiz again.
Felson, MD on February 15, 2017
Medically Reviewed on February 15, 2017
Reviewed by Sabrina
Felson, MD on
February 15, 2017
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CDC: “CDC Says Take 3 Actions to Prevent the Flu;” “Flu Vaccine Facts and Myths;” “Everyday Preventive Actions That Can Help Fight Germs, Like Flu;” “Flu Symptoms and Severity;” “Key Facts About Influenza (Flu) & Flu Vaccine;” “Key Facts About Seasonal Flu Vaccine;” “How Flu Spreads;” “Misconceptions About Seasonal Flu and Flu Vaccines;” “Seasonal Influenza Q&A;” “Selecting Viruses for the Seasonal Influenza Vaccine;” “Will New Flu Viruses Circulate This Season?;” “What You Should Know and Do This Flu Season If You Are 65 Years and Older;” and “What You Should Know for the 2014-2015 Influenza Season.”
County of Los Angeles Public Health: “Flu Myths and Facts.”
Harvard Medical School: “10 Flu Myths.”
UCSF Medical Center: “Top Seven Flu Myths Debunked.”
Johns Hopkins Guides.
Immunization Action Coalition.
This tool does not provide medical advice.
See additional information.
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Quiz: Do You Fall For Old Flu Myths?
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