Flu is an infectious respiratory disease caused by the influenza virus. It usually presents many different symptoms and most commonly affects the nose, throat, and sometimes the lungs. You probably hear a lot of buzz about the flu this time of year, perhaps a combination of both panicked chatter and concerning disregard for the flu. In any case, there are many myths surrounding the flu.
It is important that you can separate fact from fiction, because the flu can be dangerous and even deadly. According to the World Health Organization, the flu epidemic leads to 3-5 million cases of severe illness and 290,000-650,000 deaths annually. Fortunately, armed with the right knowledge, you can reduce your risk of coming down with this unpleasant illness. Read on to learn more.
Here are some common myths which often surround the flu
Flu is just a bad cold
Flu and colds are both respiratory illnesses; however, they are caused by different viruses. The flu is a severe and sometimes life-threatening illness. Each year, up to 20% of Americans might come down with the flu. Of those cases, 200,000 will be sick enough to require hospitalization. While the mortality rate varies from year to year, the number of flu-related deaths usually hovers somewhere between 3,000 and 49,000.
That said, the severity of the flu may vary from one person to another. One person might get full-on chills, a high fever, and debilitating body aches, while another just has a runny nose. It is hard to predict how you will fare, so it is always best to take precautions.
You can get flu from a flu vaccine
Because the flu vaccine contains dead flu viruses, you cannot get influenza from an inactivated virus. Some people swear that they come down with the flu just after they were vaccinated. The truth is that it takes two weeks for the vaccine to work. Many people tend to confuse the flu with other respiratory illnesses with similar signs and symptoms. If you get sick right after getting vaccinated, you are most likely either ill with something else or were already walking around with the flu.
Pregnant women should not get the flu vaccine
Every pregnant woman should be vaccinated against the flu. The flu vaccine goes a long way in protecting the baby even some months after it is born, until it gets old enough to be vaccinated against flu (6 months). Pregnancy affects the immunity of women, and flu symptoms like high fever can cause pregnancy complications as well as premature labor.
Healthy people don’t need to be vaccinated
The flu vaccine is fit for everyone. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that the flu vaccine be repeated every year since the flu virus changes slightly every year. The vaccine should be given to everyone above six months of age. A good lifestyle cannot prevent flu since it is a contagious infection.
You can get flu when exposed to cold weather
You can be exposed to the flu virus anytime, whether it is snowing or scorching hot. A lot of people associate the flu with cold weather because the flu season overlaps with the winter months. In actuality, people tend to stay in tight quarters when it is cold outside, making it that much easier to spread infection. Since the flu is so contagious, you can catch it simply by being around an infected person when they cough or sneeze.
The effectiveness of the flu vaccine depends on the age and the wellbeing of the person being vaccinated. The vaccine changes every year, depending on circulating influenza. Apart from being vaccinated against the flu, it would be best if you took preventive measures like washing your hands frequently with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand wash. Lastly, the other way to take care of yourself during the flu season is to learn how to isolate the truth from the myths; don’t be fooled by the myths. Visit Medical Supply Depot today for hand hygiene products.