Although influenza viruses are detected year-round in the United States, there’s a defined peak in cases from November to February. In honor of flu season approaching, we’re clearing up the most common misconceptions about the flu and the flu shot. Together, we can all do our part to keep the Wylie community healthy this winter!
MYTH: The flu is just a bad cold
This misconception is believed widely because of the similarities in symptoms. Although you may experience a sore throat, cough, and stuffy nose with both, a cold has much milder symptoms. Signs of the flu are more severe and include muscle pains, fatigue, chills, headache, and high fever. The most serious difference between the flu and a cold is that 36,000 people die and more than 200,000 are hospitalized each year in the U.S. from the flu.
MYTH: Feed a cold, starve a fever
Whether you have a cold or the flu, either way, you need fluids. Although you may not have much of an appetite, there are no direct benefits of decreasing how much you eat while sick. In fact, healthy food gives your body nourishment and energy, so “starving” yourself will not accomplish anything in terms of recovery.
MYTH: You can catch the flu from cold weather
Because flu season peaks during the colder months, it’s believed by some that you can get the flu from sitting by a drafty window, going outside with wet hair, or not wearing a coat. However, the only way you can contract the flu is by being exposed to the influenza virus.
MYTH: Healthy people don’t need to be vaccinated
Although it’s vital that someone with a chronic illness gets the flu shot, anyone, including those who are healthy, can benefit from it. The CDC recommends every person older than six months get vaccinated against influenza. Even if you are healthy, consider getting vaccinated to help protect those with weak immune systems.
MYTH: You don’t need to get the flu shot every year
The influenza virus mutates and changes every year. Therefore, getting the shot annually is essential to ensure your body has immunity to the strains most likely to cause the outbreak that particular year.
MYTH: You can get the flu from the vaccine
This misconception is tricky because you can still get sick after getting the flu shot, but not because of the shot. The flu shot itself is made from an inactive virus that can not be transmitted, but it takes one to two weeks to fully kick in. So, anyone who gets sick after getting the flu shot would have gotten ill anyways.
Getting vaccinated might be your strongest defense, but there are several steps you can take to avoid sickness.
For maximum protection this flu season, follow these guidelines in addition to getting the flu shot:
- Wash your hands often and thoroughly
- Steer clear from anyone who’s sick
- Keep your hands away from your eyes, mouth, and nose
- Eat healthy, vitamin-rich foods
- Stay hydrated and drink plenty of fluids daily
- Make a good night’s sleep a priority
Wylie ER is here to assist you through all seasons, which is why we’re open 365 days of the year—including holidays. We offer complete care from start to finish in a comfortable environment. If you fall victim to the influenza virus this year, visit our facility to get tested, receive fluids, and pick up a Tamiflu prescription for a speedy recovery!
Disclaimer: As a service to our readers, Wylie ER and Nutex Health state no content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinicians.
Nutex Health, Inc supports you and your family’s health. You can depend on Wylie ER or any of our concierge-level medical facilities to deliver the emergency care you deserve, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.