Flu Facts & Myths
As people head back to work or school it is that time to think about your annual flu shots. Seasonal flu kills 40,000 people in North America per year and 200,000 people suffering from flu wind up in hospital. Just by getting a flu shot you can help fight flu by fighting the spread of the virus.
Here are some flu facts:
1. The best way to prevent the flu is by getting a flu vaccine each year.
2. Flu symptoms include: fever* or feeling feverish/chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, fatigue (very tired), may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.
3. Flu viruses spread mainly by droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk. Less often, a person might also get flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth, eyes or possibly their nose.
4. infecting others beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 5 to 7 days after becoming sick.
5. Incubation Period is about 1 to 4 days.
Here are some flu myth busters that people should understand if they are thinking about getting a flu shot:
1. MYTH: Flu vaccine can transmit flu viruses. All flu vaccines do not contain viruses that can cause the flu.
2. MYTH: You must be sick to spread the flu. Even with no symptoms, you can transmit the flu.
3. MYTH: A flu shot is not required every year for protection. The flu virus mutates (changes) every year so an annual vaccination will help your chances for combating new strains.
4. MYTH: There is nothing else you can do to prevent flu besides vaccination. Wash hands before eating, or touching your mouth, avoid direct contact with people that have the flu, practice proper cough/sneeze protocol
5. MYTH: Healthy people don’t need to be vaccinated. Both the young and the old and generally immunocompromised are at highest risk, but vaccinating everyone protects the general population.
6. MYTH: Getting the flu vaccination is all you need to do to protect yourself from the flu. In addition avoid contact with people who have the flu, wash your hands frequently, and consider taking anti-viral medications if you were exposed to the flu before being vaccinated.
7. MYTH: The flu is just a bad cold. The flu is caused by influenza virus, while a cold is caused by a rhino virus.
8. MYTH: Adverse cold weather conditions increase your chances of getting the flu. Being stuck indoors with people that have the flu increase your risks.
9. MYTH: Feed a cold, starve a fever. If you are sick fluids, and good nutrition help you recover from both colds and the flu.
10. MYTH: Chicken soup cures flu and colds. Hot soup takes good, provides fluids and nutrition but is not a magic elixir.
11. MYTH: Bad flu infections should be treated with antibiotics. Antibiotics help fight bacteria but are ineffective against viruses. They may help treat secondary bacterial injections but not the flu virus. work well against bacteria, but they aren’t effective for a viral infection like the flu.