Think you know everything you need to know about the flu? See if you’ve been fooled by these eight common myths about the flu, according to U.S. News and World Reports.
Myth: The flu is just a bad cold.
Reality: The flu is much more dangerous than the common cold, carrying the danger of secondary bacterial infections like pneumonia.
Myth: A flu shot is your only defense against getting the flu.
Reality: Washing your hands, keeping your distance from someone else who is sick, getting enough sleep and taking care of yourself will help keep you well.
Myth: You only need a flu shot if you’re in a high-risk category.
Reality: The federal government recommends everyone older than 6 months get a flu shot, but it’s especially important for young kids, the elderly and anyone with a weak immune system.
Myth: The flu shot can give you the flu.
Reality: You may get a headache or low fever after a flu shot, but it’s not going to make you sick. If you do get a full-blown illness after getting a vaccine, it’s probably because viruses are already going around and you won’t be fully immune until you’ve had the shot for two weeks.
Myth: Flu shots hurt.
Reality: Try a nasal spray or intradermal vaccine if you don’t like longer needles.
Myth: Expect to vomit with the flu.
Reality: Influenza doesn’t induce stomach pain or vomiting. What’s usually referred to as the stomach flu is actually a different virus.
Myth: Antibiotics will help you recover from the flu.
Reality: The flu is a virus; antibiotics only help with bacterial infections. Try an antiviral like Tamiflu within the first two days of catching the virus instead.