There are many misconceptions about the flu and the flu vaccine. It can be difficult for people to sort out a fact from a rumour when it involves this virus. It is our goal to help keep you informed about the flu. Here are 5 shocking myths about the flu so you know how to protect yourself from the virus.
Myth 1. The flu is the same as a cold
It may seem obvious to some but catching the flu is not the same catching a cold. The flu and the common cold are both respiratory illnesses, but they are caused by different viruses. The flu usually comes on suddenly. The symptoms of flu can include fever or feeling feverish/chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches and fatigue (tiredness). In general, Cold symptoms are usually milder than the symptoms of the flu. People with colds are more likely to have a runny or stuffy nose. The flu can cause mild to severe illness. It is more dangerous than a cold as at times it can lead to death.
Myth 2. If you have the flu you can’t infect someone just by standing next to them
It is evitable that you will stand in close proximity to someone when at work, college or in a public space. Unfortunately, if you are sick, that means you have probably already infected them. The flu is spread by virus-laden droplets. These are drops of spit or other bodily fluids that spray into the air when you sneeze and cough. These droplets can extend out from you at a distance of six feet. Even just breathing on someone a few feet from you can infect them.
If you have the flu everything you touch also gets covered in the virus. The virus can survive for up to 48 hours on a hard, nonporous surface such as a door handle.
Myth 3. You never get the flu, so you won’t this year
If you have not had the flu before, then lucky you! However, just because you have not gotten sick in the past does not mean you are somehow immune to the flu. Not catching the flu is usually down to two things. One is that you haven’t come into contact with anyone who has the virus. The second reason is that you have always gotten the flu vaccination to prevent catching the flu.
If enough people get vaccinated against a virus, they can not then spread the virus to others. It is a process called herd immunity and helps protect the most vulnerable people in the population, including infants and young children, older adults and people who have weak immune systems from a medical condition or medication.
Myth 4. You got the flu vaccination last year, so you don’t need it again this year
To protect yourself and others from the flu, you must get the flu vaccination every year. Unlike some other immunizations, the flu vaccination becomes less effective over time.
The flu vaccination formulation also changes each year to protect against specific viruses that are expected to be prominent that year. This is another reason why it is important to get the flu vaccination every year.
Myth 5. You are healthy, so you won’t get the flu
Looking after your health is always beneficial for you. However, anyone can get sick with the flu, even extremely healthy people. The flu can affect you just as easily as it can affect someone who does not eat well or exercise regularly. It is true that a good diet and exercise regime will help keep you to stay healthy and strong, but that is not going to prevent you from getting sick if you are exposed to the flu virus. The only thing that will help prevent you from catching the flu is getting the flu vaccination.
We hope you found our 5 shocking myths about the flu helpful. To protect yourself and others from catching the flu we strongly advise that you book an appointment at your local TMB clinic for the flu vaccination.